, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 95-103

Use of restriction fragment length polymorphisms to identify sea turtle eggs and cooked meats to species

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One of the many threats to sea turtlepopulations is the take of turtles and theireggs for consumption and sale. Improved speciesidentification methods for sea turtle eggs andcooked meats would facilitate prosecution ofthose involved. Fatty acid-based methods toidentify eggs cannot resolve loggerheads andthe two ridley species. Protein-based methodsare not applicable to eggs or cooked meat. Wepresent methods to extract DNA from turtle eggand cooked meat and to produce diagnosticrestriction fragment length polymorphismpatterns in the cytochrome b region of themitochondrial DNA. This method works on DNAfrom any tissue, and provides wildlife lawenforcement another tool to combat illegal takeof endangered species.