Can evolutionary ecology help us to design better biotoxin detection tools? The case of Alexandrium.
- Cawthron Institute
- Publication Type:
- Conference Proceeding
- Marine and Freshwater Algae, 2014, pp. 30 - 33
- Issue Date:
An increase in the occurrence, frequency and severity of blooms of paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) producing Alexandrium species over the past 30 years has been reported from many parts of the world. PSTs impact disparate groups of marine organisms and can even structure ecosystems, leading to them being considered ‗keystone metabolites‘. There have been many hypotheses as to the role of PSTs for Alexandrium species: of these, a role as defensive compounds against copepod predation has been generally supported. This hypothesis would suggest that predation might have acted as a selective force in the evolution of toxicity in the genus. A study of the evolution and phylogeny of Alexandrium and the A1 and A4 domains of the sxtA gene , and sxtG gene can be used to investigate such selection. The information on genes related to saxitoxin synthesis in dinoflagellates can be applied to the design of rapid detection tools for marine biotoxin monitoring. Such tools have been shown to be useful in the quantification of blooms of Alexandrium species producing PSTs from Australian and New Zealand
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