for the first time in the Mediterranean in 2012, in the Venice lagoon (Italy), this exotic species was also documented in aquaculture facilities in the Ebro Delta, in Tarragona. Today it is widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean basin, and therefore it is essential to know its biology and ecology to limit its colonizing power and prevent new episodes of dispersal in marine ecosystems. Chimeras: from ancient mythology to the natural world In Greek mythology, chimeras were fantastic creatures with attributes and characteristics of various animals. In nature, the formation of chimera organisms – made up of cell lines with a different genetic origin – is a process that can occur spontaneously in some organisms. In the case of colonial

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species such as sea squirts, natural chimerism is defined by Poland Phone Number List the presence of parts of the colony with different genotypes. The frequency of chimeras in nature varies in different species, “and in the case of modular organisms, such as colonial sea squirts, sponges or corals, the process of chimera formation is also possible,” says researcher Marta Pascual, from the Laboratory of Evolutionary Genetics of the Faculty of Biology (UB-IRBio). “In the framework of evolution,” he continues, “the formation of chimeras makes genetic diversity greater. In addition, it has also been hypothesized that it could be a mechanism to increase adaptive success in a new environment. ‘ Chimeras in invading sea squirts in the Ebro delta In the new work, whose first author

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is the doctoral student Maria Casso (UB-IRBio-CEAB-CSIC), genomic amplification protocols (whole genome amplification, WGA) and massive genotyping-by-sequencing techniques (genotyping-by) have been applied. -sequencing, GBS). Already in a previous study ( Biological Invasions , 2019), the research team experimentally demonstrated the reliability of the WGA and GBS protocols to carry out genomic analyzes with minimal amounts of biological material. The new study quantifies the prevalence of chimerism in the population of invasive sea squirts in the Ebro delta and reveals that 44% of the colonies studied are chimeras. However, there are still many unknowns about the mechanism that determines the formation of chimeras in the sea squirt

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