The Real Science Behind
The Odd Shelf
Previous research led by KAUST marine scientist Manuel Aranda had shown that chronically stressed corals develop changes in their epigenetic patterns. “We were curious to find out if corals, like plants, could pass epigenetic information to the next generation,” says Liew. “From a biological perspective, this would shatter the common assumption that epigenetic patterns are reset across generations in all animals.”
“Our initial results were startling,” says Liew.
The analyses showed that the DNA methylation patterns were most similar between sperm and their parent coral. “We think this is the first solid proof for intergenerational transfer of whole-genome DNA methylation patterns in an animal,” Liew says.
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Margaret Riley is a wordsmith, slow-kayaker, slow-skiier, photographer of strange realities, and a deep believer in the magic of story time.