Article

Conservation Genetics

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 95-103

First online:

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

  • M. Katherine MooreAffiliated withNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research at Charleston
  • , John A. BemissAffiliated withNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research at Charleston
  • , Susan M. RiceAffiliated withU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge
  • , Joseph M. QuattroAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Baruch Institute, School of the Environment, Program in Marine Science, University of South Carolina
  • , Cheryl M. WoodleyAffiliated withNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research at Charleston

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Abstract

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.

forensic mitochondrial DNA restriction fragment length polymorphism sea turtles species identification