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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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Physiological mechanisms of adaptive developmental plasticity in Rana temporaria island populations

Physiological mechanisms of adaptive developmental plasticity in Rana temporaria island populations

Adaptive plasticity is essential for many species to cope with environmental heterogeneity. In particular, developmental plasticity allows organisms with complex life cycles to adaptively adjust the timing of ontogenetic switch points. In this study, the physiological mechanisms underlying divergent degrees of developmental plasticity across Rana temporaria island populations inhabiting different types of pools in northern Sweden is investigated. In a laboratory experiment it was estimated developmental plasticity against pond drying of amphibian larvae from six populations coming from three different island habitats: islands with only permanent pools, islands with only ephemeral pools, and islands with a mixture of both types of pools. It was found that populations from islands with only temporary pools had a higher degree of developmental plasticity than those from the other two types of habitats. Tadpoles from islands with temporary pools showed lower constitutive activities of catalase and glutathione reductase, and also showed overall shorter telomeres. The observed differences are indicative of physiological costs of increased developmental plasticity, suggesting that the potential for plasticity is constrained by its costs. Thus, high levels of responsiveness in the developmental rate of tadpoles have evolved in islands with pools at high but variable risk of desiccation. Moreover, the physiological alterations observed may have important consequences for both short-term odds of survival and long term effects on lifespan. informacion[at] Burraco et al (2017) Physiological mechanisms of adaptive developmental plasticity in Rana temporaria island populations. BMC Evol Biol doi: 10.1186/s12862-017-1004-1