Scleractinian corals are important reef builders, but around the world they are under the threat of global environmental changes as well as local stressors. Molecular resources are critical for understanding a species’ stress responses and resilience to the changing environment, but such resources are unavailable for most scleractinian corals, especially those distributed in the South China Sea. We therefore aimed to provide transcriptome resources for 14 common species, including a few structure forming species in the South China Sea.

We sequenced the transcriptome of 14 species of scleractinian corals using high-throughput RNA-seq and conducted de novo assembly. For each species, 7.4 to 12.0 gigabases of reads were produced, which were then assembled into 271 to 762 thousand contigs with a N50 value of 629 to 1427 bp. These contigs included 66 to 114 thousand unigenes with a predicted open reading frame, and 74.3% to 80.5% of the unigenes were functionally annotated. In the azooxanthelate species Tubastraea coccinea, 41.5% of the unigenes had at least a best-hit sequence from corals. In the other thirteen species, 20.2% to 48.9% of the annotated unigenes had best-hit sequences from corals, and 28.3% to 51.6% from the symbiotic algae Symbiodinum spp. With these resources, we developed a transcriptome database (CoralTBase) which features online BLAST and keyword search for unigenes/functional terms through a user friendly Internet interface.

We developed comprehensive transcriptome resources for 14 species of scleractinian corals and constructed a publicly accessible database to facilitate molecular research on these corals. CoralTBase will facilitate not only functional studies using these corals to understand the molecular basis of stress responses and adaptation, but also comparative genomic studies with other species of corals and more distantly related cnidarians.

  • Acropora digitifera

  • Dipsastraea rotumana

  • Favites acuticollis

  • Galaxea fascicularis

  • Goniopora lobata

  • Hydnophora exesa

  • Leptastrea purpurea

  • Lithophyllon undulatum

  • Montipora peltiformis

  • Pavona decussata

  • Platygyra carnosa

  • Porites lutea

  • Tubastraea coccinea

  • Turbinaria peltata

  • Acropora digitifera skeleton

  • Dipsastraea rotumana skeleton

  • Favites acuticollis skeleton

  • Galaxea fascicularis skeleton

  • Goniopora lobata skeleton

  • Hydnophora exesa skeleton

  • Leptastrea purpurea skeleton

  • Lithophyllon undulatum skeleton

  • Montipora peltiformis skeleton

  • Pavona decussata skeleton

  • Platygyra carnosa skeleton

  • Porites lutea skeleton

  • Tubastraea coccinea skeleton

  • Turbinaria peltata skeleton

Other websites with coral transcriptome resources
Dr. Jian-Wen QiuDr. Jianliang Xu
Department of BiologyDepartment of Computer Science
Hong Kong Baptist UniversityHong Kong Baptist University