The first genetically modified corals

Shock caused a few days ago the announcement of the findings of the latest research on Australia’s Great Coral Pulp. Researchers have found that 30% of corals have been destroyed due to climate change and there is no recovery.

Researchers at Stanford University in the US are opening a window of optimism after they have been able to create corals genetically modified to withstand the conditions created by climate change and, in particular, the rise in water temperature.

What happens to corals when the temperature rises is that a mechanism that forces them to remove the living microorganisms living on them (algae) is triggered. This results in the corals being calcified and whitened, losing their wonderful colors. Experts say basically corals are “literally baked” when water temperature rises.

The researchers, as reported in their publication in the PNAS Review, used the Crispr-Cas9 technique, a new version of the Crisp molecular “scissors”. The conventional Crisp method cuts DNA at specific locations in the genome to silence defective genes. The modified version of it “elevates the intensity” of the activity of selected genes.