Friday, January 29, 2010

MCSS assisting with regional turtle DNA study

Researchers from IFRMER and Kelonia using variations in the mitochondrial DNA patterns in green turtles from the Southwest Indian Ocean have revealed two distinct genetic populations within the region – namely the Indo-Pacific turtles and the Atlantic turtles.

Previously, it was believed that the Cape of Good Hope, at the tip of Africa, acted as a natural barrier between the Indian and Atlantic Ocean populations.
A little nip and tuck, photo Catarina Schlott

Since the beginning of the 2009-10 nesting season, Elke has been collecting turtle DNA samples on behalf of IFRMER. To date 14 Hawksbill, 1 Green and 1 Olive Ridley tissue samples have been sent to Reunion for analysis.

Over the course of the nesting season an additional 35 Hawksbill samples have been collected from both nesting turtles and dead hatchlings and embryos dug up from nests. Samples have also been taken from 2 dead adult turtles found by MCSS during the season.

DNA can help us better understand the population distribution, photo Elke Talma

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