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DNA Collected From Seawater May Solve Mysteries About World’s Largest Fish

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DNA Collected From Seawater May Solve Mysteries About World’s Largest Fish

2016-11-21 16:36:11

Scientists have estimated the number of reproducing female whale sharks in part of the Arabian Gulf using nothing but DNA floating in the ocean. Using only the DNA from sloughed-off cells floating in the ocean, scientists have been able to determine the population size and genetic properties of one of the world’s largest and most mysterious animals: the whale shark. The work marks the first time researchers have been able to use so-called environmental DNA (eDNA) to estimate the genetic characteristics of an aquatic species, and it could help scientists study the population and health of a wide range of marine animals without ever setting foot in the water.

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