Molecular forensics in the precious Mediterranean red coral, Corallium rubrum: testing DNA extraction and microsatellite genotyping using dried colonies
Corallium rubrum is an overharvested precious coral submitted to strong environmental pressures. The development of new management tools such as assignment tests is crucial to assess the origin of traded colonies and to reinforce existing regulations in order to ultimately reduce poaching. As a starting point, we test the feasibility of DNA extractions and PCR amplifications of ten microsatellites using dried tissues such as those that can be obtained from traded or seized colonies. We genotype the same ten colonies conserved in alcohol and after five drying periods (from 7 days to 8 months) as well as ten dried colonies coming from a seizure conducted in 2009. Estimating the rate of negative PCRs through time, PCR repeatability and frequencies of null alleles, we demonstrate that dried colonies can be successfully genotyped. This study opens new avenues for the conservation of C. rubrum and other precious corals.
KeywordsPoaching Corallium rubrum Dried tissues Degraded DNA DNA extraction Microsatellites Genotyping
This study was funded by the ‘‘Provence–Alpes–Côte d’Azur’’ region (J.-B. Ledoux Doctoral Fellowship) and by the IFB Foundation (Institut Français de la Biodiversité), the environmental department of TOTAL-FINA-ELF group, an ‘Action Concertée Initiative’ (ACI) program ‘Jeunes chercheurs 2003’ (number JC5360) from the French Research Ministry and the MEDCHANGE project funded by the Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR). We thank the associate editor Dr. Michael Kruetzen and one anonymous reviewer for useful comments. During writing process, J-B. Ledoux was supported by a post-doctoral grant SFRH/BPD/74400/2010 from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT). Genotyping was conducted at the Plateforme Génome Transcriptome de Pierroton in Bordeaux (France; http://www4.bordeaux-aquitaine.inra.fr/pgtb).
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