Teeth and Bones as Sources of DNA for Genetic Diversity and Sex Identification of Commerson’s Dolphins (Cephalorhynchus commersonii) from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Abstract: Museum specimens are often the only source of genetic material for many species of cetaceans. Most of the protocols that have been developed to extract DNA from teeth and bone samples involve mechanical or chemical disintegration of the material. An alternative method to the mechanical reduction process is presented here for 212 Commerson’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus commersonii) samples collected in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, from 1974 to 2004. From the total samples, 82.5% (n = 175) allow for amplification to occur of a minimum length of 200 pb for the mtDNA control region, 66.5% (n = 141) of 400 bp, and 51% (n = 108) of 500 bp. A total of 11 haplotypes were defined from 10 polymorphic sites. From the initial number of samples, 64.6% could be sexed via molecular markers. This method is effective for processing large quantities of degraded samples over a short time period, analysing a representative number of mtDNA haplotypes, and allowing robust estimation of his-torical genetic diversity and trends over time.

Key Words: teeth, bones, DNA extraction, population genetic analysis, Commerson’s dolphin, Cephalorhynchus commersonii

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1578/AM.35.3.2009.330

Page Numbers: 330-333

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