Semi-nondestructive genetic sampling from live eusocial wasps, Polistes dominulu and Polistes fuscatu
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We present a method of extracting DNA from medium-sized paper wasps without sacrificing the animal. From the distal half of a single leg, enough DNA is extracted for 125 PCR reactions. This DNA - collected from Polistes dominulus and P. fuscatus– amplifies as well as DNA extracted from larger amounts of tissue taken from sacrificed animals, and the resulting microsatellite regions amplify faithfully. Although the nest tenure of P. dominulus workers with leg-cuts was shorter than control animals, test animals appeared to behave normally. This DNA extraction method is well suited for studies that combine behavioral observations and genetic analysis on animals likely to disappear during the observation period. Collecting genetic data without destroying colonies will enable researchers to examine behavior in eusocial insects without damaging the future population size or altering the population genetic structure.
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