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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]ebd.csic.es: 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


http://abc.museucienciesjournals.cat/volum-43-2-2020/towards-high-throughput-analyses-of-fecal-samples-from-wildlife/?lang=en
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Juvenile pheomelanin-based plumage colouration has evolved more frequently in carnivorous species

Juvenile pheomelanin-based plumage colouration has evolved more frequently in carnivorous species

Distinctive pheomelanin-based plumage colouration in juvenile birds has been proposed as a signal of immaturity to avoid aggression by older conspecifics, but recent findings suggest a detoxifying strategy. Pheomelanin synthesis implies the consumption of cysteine, a semi-essential amino acid that is necessary for the synthesis of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH) but that may be toxic if in excess in the diet. As the nestling stage probably represents a low stress period with limited requirement for GSH protection, the synthesis of pheomelanin in developing birds may help maintain cysteine homeostasis, particularly in species with a high content of protein in the diet (i.e. carnivores). Here this hypothesis was confirmed showing that, among 53 species of Western Palearctic birds, juvenile pheomelanin based colouration has evolved more frequently in strictly carnivorous species than in species with other diets. Understanding  the  physiological  mechanisms  of  colour  production  helps  to  explain  the  evolution  of  plumage  diversity. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Rodriguez-Martinez et al (2019) Juvenile pheomelanin?based plumage colouration has evolved more frequently in carnivorous species. IBIS DOI 10.1111/ibi.12770