Endophytic alga species found in Indian Ocean

Researchers have found Endophytic alga belonging to Ulvella leptochaete species thriving in the Indian Ocean.

This species of alga is originally inhabitant to the seas around the British Isles and the East China Sea. It belongs to a type known as endophytic which means that they are microscopic in size and generally found living inside macroscopic seaweeds.

How discovery took place?

  • Researchers had collected samples of green seaweeds, Cladophora glomerata from Calicut, Kerala and red seaweeds, Laurentia obtusa from Mandapam, Tamil Nadu.
  • From these samples researchers extracted and sequenced a small genomic region called Internal Transcribed Spacer, which is a routinely used as DNA barcode for aquatic plant.
  • This sequence information was compared with the global DNA sequence database from NCBI-GenBank which confirmed the identity of the endophytic alga.
  • The identity of this alga was also reconfirmed by researchers by reconstructing molecular evolutionary legacy of it using computational phylogenetics.

Advantages of this discovery

  • Endophytic alga has ecological advantage to the host such as disease resistance.
  • It contains anticancer compounds such as Taxol and can be used for treatment of many cancers including ovarian cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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