Meeting Abstract

S9-6  Sunday, Jan. 6 10:30 - 11:00  'Beyond Primary Sequence' – Relating Lifestyles to Variation in Cnidarian Venom LONG, Paul F*; DOONAN, Liam B; GACESA, Ranko; HARTIGAN, Ashlie; JAIMES-BECERRA, Adrian; MARQUES, Antonio C; OKAMURA, B; King’s College London, UK; King’s College London, UK; University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands; Natural History Museum, London, UK; Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil; Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil; Natural History Museum, London, UK

Animals often face conflicting demands associated with key processes that may be resolved by trade-offs and trait modification. In addition, these demands may vary over time as animals evolve new ecologies and lifestyles, employing ancestral traits in new ways. Some venomous animals may provide an example of the latter using toxins for both predation and defense. For example, shifts in the balance between being the hunter towards being the hunted and, vice versa, might be expected to alter venom composition. The resultant multi-purpose nature of toxin chemistry may also be reflected in the anatomical structures used to deliver venom. The same delivery apparatus that evolved for prey capture and may thus be used to inject venom to deter enemies. Nonetheless, few lines of evidence support the scenario that shifts in lifestyles can drive toxin diversification. Data generated using genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic approaches will be evaluated in order to explore changes in venom composition between endoparasitic cnidarians and the major morphological forms of free-living cnidarians (swimming medusae and sessile polyps). Critical insights into how venom composition may be adapted to cnidarian ecology will be discussed.