May 24, 2022

Analysis of genome-wide sequencing datasets of non-model coral reef fish

SOKENDAI Student Dispatch Program program year: 2021



Mobile DNA role in adaptation to rise in ocean acidity in coral reef fish

Effect of mobile DNA in genetic changes in coral reef fish subjected to experiments on rise in ocean acidity

I've been working with large scale genetic information data collected from tropical fish called spiny damselfish around Great Barrier Reef (Australia). Those fish have been subjected to a series of experiments exploring genetic changes related to climate change in particular the changes in ocean water acidity humanity will observe in future. Previous findings confirmed that some of the spiny damselfish change behavior in response to change in water acidity. Surprisingly, the next generation of those fish with abnormal behavior had changes in their genes responsible for metabolism and nerve cell work. I was exploring if a special class of DNA capable of jumping between genes called "mobile DNA" or "transposable elements" have been partially responsible for these changes. My results suggest that mobile DNA may have contributed to changes in regulation of several genes in the fish subjected to conditions of future ocean acidification. My computational analysis showed that some of these mobile DNA elements are more prevalent in fish exposed to higher acidity then those that have been growing at normal water conditions.

My future plan is to study in more details the mobile DNA elements that can possibly change gene expression and help fish adapting to new environment. This study can be one of the first attempt to understand how transposable DNA switches on and off critical genes required for future ocean conditions. We also plan to publish this work in a scientific journal upon completion of the analysis.

Period of Stay

Date of Departure: November 1, 2021
Date of Return: March 1, 2022

Country and/or City

Japan, Okinawa

Visiting Institute, Host, or Meeting

Marine Climate Change Unit,Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST)

Title of your Presentation

Role of mobile DNA in adaptation to climate change in coral reef fish

What you learned and achieved during the visit

I have received training to perform field work collecting water from ocean coast that can be used for monitoring of biodiversity through careful filtering and analysis of DNA in water. I also got training on safety and techniques of Research Snorkeling required for scientific work in the ocean.
I presented my findings and research strategy to the collaborators in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia). I have also applied and submitted an abstract to 15th International Coral Reef Symposium 2022 in Bremen, Germany, running from 3-8 July 2022.


My name is Kaisar Dauyey. I'm a third year PhD student at the Department of Genetics. Prior to that I've completed my graduate medical degree at Nazarbayev University School of Medicine. I've been working for several months in University of Queensland understanding autoimmune diseases in elderly and children. During my time in SOKENDAI I've been studying ancient human genomes as well single-cell RNA-sequencing in zebrafish. My current work is focused on understanding of genomic changes in tropical fish in response to ocean acidification