July 10, 2017 • DNA
The discovery that ammonium induces sexual reproduction among diatoms could shed light on evolutionary mechanisms and help explain algal bloom dynamics. It could also point to new genetic modification strategies, potentially advancing molecular ecology interventions, biofuel applications, and nanotechnology-informed development of novel drug delivery vehicles.
"Lab efforts to induce sex in centric diatoms have ranged from sweet talk to torture," quipped microbiologist Kimberly Halsey, Ph.D., lead scientist on the study.
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