Thar she blows! A novel method for DNA collection from cetacean blow

Frère, Céline H., Krzyszczyk, Ewa, Patterson, Eric M., Hunter, Sue, Ginsburg, Alison and Mann, Janet (2010) Thar she blows! A novel method for DNA collection from cetacean blow. PLoS ONE, 5 8: e12299-1-e12299-5. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012299

Author Frère, Céline H.
Krzyszczyk, Ewa
Patterson, Eric M.
Hunter, Sue
Ginsburg, Alison
Mann, Janet
Title Thar she blows! A novel method for DNA collection from cetacean blow
Journal name PLoS ONE   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2010-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0012299
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 5
Issue 8
Start page e12299-1
End page e12299-5
Total pages 5
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Molecular tools are now widely used to address crucial management and conservation questions. To date, dart biopsying has been the most commonly used method for collecting genetic data from cetaceans; however, this method has some drawbacks. Dart biopsying is considered inappropriate for young animals and has recently come under scrutiny from ethical boards, conservationists, and the general public. Thus, identifying alternative genetic collection techniques for cetaceans remains a priority, especially for internationally protected species.

Methodology/Principal Findings: In this study, we investigated whether blow-sampling, which involves collecting exhalations from the blowholes of cetaceans, could be developed as a new less invasive method for DNA collection. Our current methodology was developed using six bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, housed at the National Aquarium, Baltimore (USA), from which we were able to collect both blow and blood samples. For all six individuals, we found that their mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA profile taken from blow, matched their corresponding mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA profile collected from blood. This indicates that blow-sampling is a viable alternative method for DNA collection.

In this study, we show that blow-sampling provides a viable and less invasive method for collection of genetic data, even for small cetaceans. In contrast to dart biopsying, the advantage of this method is that it capitalizes on the natural breathing behaviour of dolphins and can be applied to even very young dolphins. Both biopsy and blow-sampling require close proximity of the boat, but blow-sampling can be achieved when dolphins voluntarily bowride and involves no harmful contact. © 2010 Frere et al.
Keyword Bottle-nosed dolphins
Genetical evolution
Western Australia
Population structure
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article # e12299

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 13 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 12 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 12 Sep 2010, 00:01:34 EST