28 Oct '16, 10pm

CSI for the Sea: How Scientists Use DNA to Spy on Whales and Find 'Extinct' Fish

CSI for the Sea: How Scientists Use DNA to Spy on Whales and Find 'Extinct' Fish

In 2014, when Mariah Pfleger volunteered to sift through water samples from Alabama’s Mobile River Basin, she wasn’t expecting to solve one of biology’s most frustrating missing fishes cases. Pfleger, a graduate student at the time and now a scientist at Oceana, agreed to help a friend track down proof of a living Alabama sturgeon — a fish not seen since 2009. Instead of netting a live sturgeon, though, Pfleger would be hunting for its genes. ‘Environmental DNA,’ or eDNA, is an emerging technique that lets scientists identify aquatic animals from the minute bits of tissue they leave behind. Early adopters say that the standard trappings of field research — pricey vessels, ship crews, scuba divers and jars of specimens — could one day be replaced by a geneticist and a liter of water. Like baking cookies The Alabama sturgeon is a russet-colored, one kilogram (two to three po...

Full article: http://oceana.org/blog/csi-sea-how-scientists-use-dna-spy...

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