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Scientists uncover genetic basis for toxic algal blooms

400px-Toxic_Algae_Bloom_in_Lake_Erie
Blooms of harmful algae can cause illness and death in humans and animals.

KQED

Despite decades of research, the trigger that causes algal blooms to begin poisoning their environment has long confounded scientists. Now, researchers from Scripps and UC San Diego have found the genetic underpinning of domoic acid, a harmful neurotoxin. In a new study published in Science, researchers describe three genes responsible for producing domoic acid in the phytoplankton Pseudo-nitzschia.