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marine snail cyphoma

Beautiful but destructive

A Flamingo Tongue snail crawls over soft corals in the Caribbean. In an "arms race" over evolutionary time, the corals developed toxins that deter predators, but the snail evolved a group of genes and proteins called a "defensome" that detoxify coral compounds and allow it to eat the corals. This work, by student Kristen Whalen in biologist Mark Hahn's lab is included in a recent issue of Oceanus magazine featuring MIT/WHOI Joint Program students. (Photo by Kristen Whalen, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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