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Biosynthesis of the neurotoxin domoic acid in a bloom-forming diatom

“By identifying the genes that encode domoic acid production, we can now ask questions about various oceanic conditions that turn the genes on or off,” said Scripps Institution of Oceanography and JCVI PhD student Patrick Brunson, one of two lead authors on the study. “This knowledge will allow us to track the development of bloom toxicity at the genetic level.” By showing how the genes for domoic acid production are turned on in culture, the authors suggest a way to connect the oceanic conditions that drive algal bloom evolution to the development of toxin production.

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