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DMSP biosynthesis in coral animals

Dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) is a widely distributed metabolite that is converted by marine bacteria to the volatile gas dimethylsulphide (DMS), a major contributor of sulphur to the atmosphere that contributes to cloud formation and hence influences climate. Here Jean-Baptiste Raina et al. report DMSP formation by two common reef-building coral species, Acropora millepora and Acropora tenuis. This comes as a surprise — previously it was thought that DMSP was produced solely by algae (including species symbiotic in coral) and some plants. DMSP biosynthesis may help the coral animals to survive conditions of thermal stress. This finding could have implications for how DMSP production responds to the effects of global change on corals and their symbionts.

Nature 502, 7473 table of contents

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