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Scientists can track origin of shark fins using 'zip codes' in their DNA
Date:4/27/2011

tle about the shark fin trade, but by using DNA-zip coding we can identify source populations that are contributing most to the trade, and prioritize them for management," added Dr. Chapman. "We, therefore, really need to establish sampling programs of fins on their way to Asia or in the markets to regulate the global trade before many more populations suffer the fate of the dusky shark in the United States."

For years, it was difficult to determine the origin of these fins and whether they were from threatened species. A study by Dr. Chapman, which was published in 2009 , used DNA testing to trace scalloped hammerhead shark fins from the Hong Kong market all the way back to the sharks' geographic origin and found many came from collapsed Western Atlantic populations.* These new research results demonstrate that this type of testing also can be used to trace the origins of the fins of dusky and copper sharks.

"As apex predators at the top of marine food webs, it is essential for ocean health that we take steps, such as monitoring and regulating the fin trade, to protect these large sharks," said Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch, executive director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science.

Both research projects were conducted by a collaborative international team of scientists from the United States, Australia, South America, Asia, New Zealand and southern Africa. The scientists collectively analyzed part of the mitochondrial DNA in nearly 400 sharks sampled from all over the globe.


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Contact: Cindy Yeast
cdyeast@earthlink.net
720-542-9455
Stony Brook University
Source:Eurekalert  

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Scientists can track origin of shark fins using 'zip codes' in their DNA
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