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Optimization of protocols for DNA extraction from fecal samples

High-throughput sequencing offers new possibilities in molecular ecology and conservation studies. However, its potential has not yet become fully exploited for noninvasive studies of free–ranging animals, such as those based on feces. High–throughput sequencing allows sequencing of short DNA fragments and could allow simultaneous genotyping of a very large number of samples and markers at a low cost. The application of high throughput genotyping to fecal samples from wildlife has been hindered by several labor intensive steps. Alternative protocols which could allow higher throughput were evaluated for two of these steps: sample collection and DNA extraction. Two different field sampling and seven different DNA extraction methods were tested on grey wolf (Canis lupus) feces. There was high variation in genotyping success rates. The field sampling method based on surface swabbing performed much worse than the extraction from a fecal fragment. In addition, there is a lot of room for improvement in the DNA extraction step. Optimization of protocols can lead to very much more efficient, cheaper and higher throughput noninvasive monitoring. Selection of appropriate markers is still of paramount importance to increase genotyping success. informacion[at] Sarabia et al (2020) Towards high-throughput analyses of fecal samples from wildlife. Animal Biodiver Conserv 43.2: 271–283 Doi 10.32800/abc.2020.43.0271
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Brown bear attacks on humans: a worldwide perspective

Brown bear attacks on humans: a worldwide perspective

Negative encounters with brown bears are rare and mainly non-fatal. This is the main finding of this study where the authors investigated more than 600 brown bear attacks on humans in 2000-2015 across the range inhabited by the species. Defensive behavior of females protecting their cubs was documented in the majority of the attacks. Half of the attacked people were engaged in leisure activities in nature, such as hiking and berry or antler picking. Other frequent scenarios were the result of inappropriate and risk-enhancing human behaviors (e.g. walking in natural areas with an unleashed dog, or chasing a wounded bear while hunting), and could be reduced by improving public education and awareness of the issue. Bear attacks were more frequent in remote areas with low density of people and high density of bears. Authors highlight the importance of educating the large public about how to behave properly in bear country to increase both human and bear safety, as well as to promote coexistence. informacion[at] Bombieri et al (2019) Brown bear attacks on humans: a worldwide perspective. Sci Rep