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Explosives and fish are traced with chemical tags
Date:1/12/2012

tary use and can even go as far as identifying the product used in a terrorist attack."

Safe for health and the environment

The researcher also highlights that the technique can be used in living organisms without risk to health or the environment: "All living beings have these isotopes, the only thing we have done is change their ratio." Monitoring of seed dispersal or fish populations are fields of scientific research that could benefit from this technology.

In fact, the team has successfully employed barium isotopes (Ba135 and Ba137) for tagging trout. What is more is that the injected tag in the female is transgenerational, meaning that it passes to her eggs and therefore the first generation of fry. The isotopic information is stored for life in the otoliths a calcareous structure in the inner ears of the fish from where samples are taken.

Garca Alonso points out that "different tags can be injected into the trout so that the procedure can be made more specific for the descendents of a single individual or group."

The method is currently being used to assess the effectiveness of salmon repopulation in rivers in Asturias, Spain. The scientists inject one type of chemical tag into wild salmon and another type into those from a fish farm. When the fry raised in captivity are returned to the river, the efficiency of the repopulation process can be determined and river populations can be indirectly estimated.


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FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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