Climate change has lead to warming temperature in water over the years. A new research has revealed the genetic mystery of why some fish are able to adjust to warming oceans. The findings suggest that higher levels of certain stress and immune genes help fish cope with warming temperature in water over the years.
The research involved rearing coral reef fish at different temperatures for more than four years, and then testing their metabolic performance. The research team examined how the fish's genes responded after several generations living at higher temperatures predicted under climate change. Heather Veilleux from James Cook University in Queensland said, "Some fish have a remarkable capacity to adjust to higher water temperatures over a few generations of exposure. But until now, how they do this has been a mystery."
Using cutting-edge molecular methods the researchers identified 53 key genes that are involved in long-term, multi-generational acclimation to higher temperatures. Veilleux added, "We found significantly higher levels of metabolic gene activity in fish exposed to higher temperatures for two generations, indicating that shifts in energy production are central to maintaining performance at higher temperatures. Immune and stress genes also responded at a higher level in the second generation, indicating that increased levels of these genes are required to allow these fish to better cope in warmer water."
The findings are published in the Nature Climate Change.