Original Published Date: 
Monday, July 1, 2013

Media issued by ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
A dramatic discovery by an Australian team of scientists has revealed that the ability of humans to resist bacterial diseases may go as far back in our ancestry as corals. Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) have found three genes in Acropora (staghorn) corals which show a very fast, strong immune response to the presence of bacteria – and the same genes also occur in mammals, including people. The main goal of the research is to better understand the mechanisms by which corals resist attack by bacteria and viruses – an urgent task in view of a massive upsurge in coral diseases around the world, which researchers attribute to the impact of human activity on the oceans and on coral reefs themselves.