RESTRICTABLE DNA FROM SLOUGHED CETACEAN SKIN; ITS POTENTIAL FOR USE IN POPULATION ANALYSIS
ABSTRACT Several species of cetaceans naturally slough visible quantities of skin. We have investigated the prospect of using this material as a viable alternative to the use of biopsy darts for the collection of samples for molecular analysis. Pieces of skin were collected from free-ranging individuals of three different species—the humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae), sperm (Physeter macrocephalus) and right whales (Eubalaena glacialis). DNA was extracted from 11 pieces of sloughed skin and DNA “fingerprint” profiles prepared. All samples contained DNA of both sufficient quality and quantity for genetic analysis. The applicability of this approach is discussed generally in relation to answering problems about the population structure and breeding systems of cetaceans.
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Dataset: Egan etal 2013 ConsLetters
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ABSTRACT: Invasive aquatic species introductions cause tremendous environmental and economic damage. Conservation and management efforts will benefit from rapid, inexpensive, and accurate on-site methods to detect harmful aquatic species to prevent their introduction and spread. Here, two technologies, environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling and Light Transmission Spectroscopy (LTS), were combined to address this need. Specifically, eDNA filtering and extraction methods were used to isolate DNA from: (1) lake water samples that were seeded with a microscopic fragment of five high-risk invasive species and (2) untreated samples from lakes infested with the invasive zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, followed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification. LTS was then used to detect size shifts resulting from hybridization of PCR products with nanobeads covered with species-specific oligonucleotide probes. The results demonstrate that coupling eDNA sampling with LTS species detection can provide a sensitive and real-time solution for screening real-world water samples for invasive species.Conservation Letters 01/2013; · 4.36 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Spatial patterns of relatedness within animal populations are important in the evolution of mating and social systems, and have the potential to reveal information on species that are difficult to observe in the wild. This study examines the fine-scale genetic structure and connectivity of groups within African forest elephants, Loxodonta cyclotis, which are often difficult to observe due to forest habitat. We tested the hypothesis that genetic similarity will decline with increasing geographic distance, as we expect kin to be in closer proximity, using spatial autocorrelation analyses and Tau Kr tests. Associations between individuals were investigated through a non-invasive genetic capture-recapture approach using network models, and were predicted to be more extensive than the small groups found in observational studies, similar to fission-fusion sociality found in African savanna (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) species. Dung samples were collected in Lopé National Park, Gabon in 2008 and 2010 and genotyped at 10 microsatellite loci, genetically sexed, and sequenced at the mitochondrial DNA control region. We conducted analyses on samples collected at three different temporal scales: a day, within six-day sampling sessions, and within each year. Spatial autocorrelation and Tau Kr tests revealed genetic structure, but results were weak and inconsistent between sampling sessions. Positive spatial autocorrelation was found in distance classes of 0-5 km, and was strongest for the single day session. Despite weak genetic structure, individuals within groups were significantly more related to each other than to individuals between groups. Social networks revealed some components to have large, extensive groups of up to 22 individuals, and most groups were composed of individuals of the same matriline. Although fine-scale population genetic structure was weak, forest elephants are typically found in groups consisting of kin and based on matrilines, with some individuals having more associates than observed from group sizes alone.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(2):e88074. · 3.53 Impact Factor