New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 6, 2020) – By combining a range of biological data with the first successful genome editing experiments in corals, scientists are poised for rapid advancements in understanding how coral genes function, according to a paper in Trends in Genetics.

Ultimately, these data will guide conservation, restoration and human intervention measures in coral reef ecosystems.

“Catastrophic changes are occurring worldwide in coral reef ecosystems, and understanding gene functions in these economically and ecologically important reef-builders is essential for advancing coral conservation and restoration efforts,” said senior author  Debashish Bhattacharya, a distinguished professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

This goal has proved challenging to attain because the use of cutting-edge technologies in studying long-lived corals is in its infancy, Bhattacharya said. Worldwide concern about the future of coral reefs is leading to unprecedented research focused on human interventions, which often lack essential knowledge of their biological impacts.

The paper:

For an interview with Professor Bhattacharya, please contact Todd Bates at [email protected]


Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino at [email protected]

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’s flagship is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It has an internationally acclaimed faculty, 12 degree-granting schools and the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse student body.