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Efficient establishment of primary fibroblast cultures from the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

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The hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is a critically endangered species at a risk of extinction. Preservation of the genomic and cellular information of endangered animals is important for future genetic and biological studies. Here, we report the efficient establishment of primary fibroblast cultures from skin tissue of the hawksbill sea turtle. We succeeded in establishing 19 primary cultures from 20 hawksbill sea turtle individuals (a success rate of 95%). These cells exhibited a fibroblast-like morphology and grew optimally at a temperature of 26°C, but experienced a loss of viability when cultured at 37°C. Chromosomal analysis using the primary cells derived here revealed that hawksbill sea turtles have a 2n = 56 karyotype. Furthermore, we showed that our primary cell cultures are free of several fish-related viruses, and this finding is important for preservation purposes. To our knowledge, this report is the first to describe primary cell cultures established from normal tissues of the hawksbill sea turtle. The results will contribute to the preservation of biodiversity, especially for the sea turtles that are critically endangered owing to human activities.

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We are grateful to all the members of the team responsible for maintaining the turtle colony of Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium for essential help in this study. This work was supported by a collaborative research grant from Wildlife Research Center of Kyoto University, Japan.

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Correspondence to Tomokazu Fukuda.

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Fukuda, T., Kurita, J., Saito, T. et al. Efficient establishment of primary fibroblast cultures from the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). In Vitro Cell.Dev.Biol.-Animal 48, 660–665 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11626-012-9565-1

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  • Hawksbill sea turtle
  • Cultured cells
  • Critically endangered animals
  • Chromosome analysis