Advancements in molecular biology especially after Kary Mullis invented a method of amplifying DNA by Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCR), has seen the scientific world gone crazy trying to understand extinction, evolution and speciation. The usual practice of using biopsy samples to generate DNA sequences is slowly being out phased by the development of newer techniques making it possible to use virtually anything that was either part of the body or had come into contact with tissues to collect DNA.
One such development is the use of sampling cetacean blows for DNA as described by a team of scientists from the School of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. According to a recent publication, they collected blow samples from six bottlenose dolphins, Tursios truncatus and analysed for mitochondrial and microsatllite DNA and compared these results with similar tests collected from the animals blood. What they found was that DNA profile from blows matched their corresponding profiles generated from the animals blood leading them to conclude that blow sampling would be just as effective as dart biopsying.
Blow sampling could serve as an alternate sampling technique after recent public outcry and scrutiny from ethical boards and conservationists over dart biopsying young animals, however this would mean more closer approaches to the animals (cetaceans in this case). The six dolphins studied were kept at the National Aquarium, in Baltimore, USA.
Celine H. Frere, Ewa Krzyszczyk, Eric M. Patterson, Sue Hunter, Alison gainsburg, Janet Mann Thar She Blows! A Novel Method for DNA Collection from Cetacean Blow