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Genomic determinants of coral heat tolerance across latitudes
Dixon, G.B.; Davies, S.W.; Aglyamova, G.A.; Meyer, E.; Bay, L.K.; Matz, M.V. (2015). Genomic determinants of coral heat tolerance across latitudes. Science (Wash.) 348(6242): 1460-1462.
In: Science (Washington). American Association for the Advancement of Science: New York, N.Y. ISSN 0036-8075; e-ISSN 1095-9203, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Dixon, G.B.
  • Davies, S.W.
  • Aglyamova, G.A.
  • Meyer, E.
  • Bay, L.K.
  • Matz, M.V.

    As global warming continues, reef-building corals could avoid local population declines through “genetic rescue” involving exchange of heat-tolerant genotypes across latitudes, but only if latitudinal variation in thermal tolerance is heritable. Here, we show an up–to–10-fold increase in odds of survival of coral larvae under heat stress when their parents come from a warmer lower-latitude location. Elevated thermal tolerance was associated with heritable differences in expression of oxidative, extracellular, transport, and mitochondrial functions that indicated a lack of prior stress. Moreover, two genomic regions strongly responded to selection for thermal tolerance in interlatitudinal crosses. These results demonstrate that variation in coral thermal tolerance across latitudes has a strong genetic basis and could serve as raw material for natural selection.

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