Jit Ern and Guoxin, along with three other members of the Aranda lab, have identified four Long Terminal Repeat (LTR) retrotransposon from the Ty1-copia family that are upregulated under heat stress in the coral symbiont Symbiodinium microadriaticum. We also show evidence that the Ty1-copia retrotransposon class as a whole have had relatively high rates of replication recently in the S. microadriaticum genome.
This particular class of retrotransposons have been found to be activated by a range of stress conditions in other model organisms and there is evidence that the replication of these “intracellular parasites” can lead to the evolution of new, beneficial phenotypes. These findings could have interesting ramifications for the ability of S. microadriaticum to adapt to higher ocean temperatures.
For further details, read the open access paper linked below!