|Manu||Date: Saturday, 10-July-2021, 4:13 AM | Message # 1|
|Scientists create genetic library for mega-ecosystem in Pacific Ocean|
by David Colgan, University of California, Los Angeles
A school of kelp bass. A new database created by scientists from UCLA and other institutions covers about 70% of all animals that live in the California Current, off of the west coast of North America. Credit: University of California, Los Angeles/Zack Gold
The California Current extends nearly 2,000 miles from Canada's Vancouver Island to the middle of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. It brings cold water from the North Pacific Ocean to the west coast of North America and is home to numerous and abundant species because of the upwelling of deep nutrient-rich waters.
The current supports a large marine ecosystem that is home to species ranging from orcas to abalone. It is the basis for $56 billion in annual economic output and more than 675,000 jobs.
Now, UCLA ecologist Paul Barber and colleagues from UCLA and three other institutions have created a library of DNA "barcodes" that identify 605 species in the California Current, including 275 that had not previously been cataloged. The database covers about 70% of all animals that live there, including 99.9% of monitored species that are important to conservation and fisheries.
The barcodes aren't actual black-and-white stripe patterns like the ones on food packaging in grocery stores. Rather, they are sequences of letters (A, T, C, and G) that spell out the unique order of amino acids (adenosine, thymine, cytosine and guanine) that identify each species' DNA.
The research is published today in Molecular Ecology Resources.
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