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Scientists Cultured the First Coral Cell Lines

A study published by researchers in Japan has established sustainable Cell Lines in coral today in Marine Biotechnology. The scientists reported that Seven out of eight-cell cultures, seeded from the stony coral, Acropora tenuis, have continuously proliferated for over 10 months,

Professor Satoh,senior author of the study and head of the Marine Genomics Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University said that establishing stable Cell Lines for marine organisms, especially coral, has proven very difficult in the past. The success proved to be a pivotal moment for gaining a deeper understanding of the biology of these vitally important animals. Acropora tenuis which belongs to the Acroporidae family. It is the most common type of coral found within tropical and subtropical reefs. These stony corals are fast growers and therefore play a crucial role in the structural formation of coral reefs.

Acroporidae corals are susceptible to changes in ocean conditions, often undergoing bleaching events when temperatures soar or when oceans acidify. Establishing knowledge about the basic biology of these corals through Cell Lines could one day help protect them against climate change.

In the study, Professor Satoh worked closely with Professor Kaz Kawamura from Kochi University who is an expert in developing and maintaining cell cultures of marine organisms. Since adult coral host a wide variety of microscopic marine organisms, the group chose to try creating the cell lines from coral larvae to reduce the chances of cross-contamination. Another benefit of using larval cells was that they divide more easily than adult cells, potentially making them easier to culture.

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