Tuesday, January 12, 2010

DNA used to identify endangered shark species

Millions of shark fins are sold each year to make shark fin soup. Proving which sharks they came from has been difficult for those monitoring illegal trade of endangered species. Researchers at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, however, have recently been able to use DNA taken from fins from a Hong Kong market to trace not just the species, but the geographical location of endangered scalloped hammerheads. This is one of 8 shark species being considered for trade protection under CITES (Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species) this March. The study “Tracking the fin trade: genetic stock identification in western Atlantic scalloped hammerhead sharks, Sphyrna lewini” by Demian D. Chapman, Danillo Pinhal, Mahmood S. Shivji can be viewed at http://www.int-res.com/articles/esr2008/theme/Forensic/forensicpp9.pdf .

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