Project Number # 1006
Project Leader: Paul Monis
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Background and Relevance
DNA detection strategies such as real-time PCR can rapidly assess whether toxin genes are present in cyanobacteria and what type of organisms these may be. Despite these capabilities, some important knowledge gaps remain in terms of toxin production: if a set of cyanobacterial strains all produce the same toxin, what makes some strains produce more toxin than others; and how does this relate to the number and distribution of the toxin genes within the genome? These questions are important because in all reports where real-time PCR is used to detect the toxin genes, more toxin genes are observed than toxic algae present.
This project aimed to establish the relationship between cyanobacterial genes, especially toxin genes, and cells using real-time PCR, cell counts and flow cytometry. It investigated the effect of growth on gene number, examine if the number of toxin genes affects toxin production and, examined the potential of combined data to better forecast the growth of toxic cyanobacteria in water systems.
A copy of the final report os available for download from the Water Research Foundation.