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Biotech Science

DNA Detectives Count Thousands of Fish Using a Glass of Water 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the where's-walleye dept.
vinces99 writes "A mere glass full of water from Monterey Bay Aquarium's 1.2 million-gallon Open Sea tank is all scientists really needed to identify the Pacific Bluefin tuna, dolphinfish and most of the other 13,000 fish swimming there. Researchers also discerned which of the species were most plentiful in the tank. Being able to determine the relative abundance of fish species in a body of water is the next step in possibly using modern DNA identification techniques to census fish in the open ocean, according to Ryan Kelly, University of Washington assistant professor of marine and environmental affairs, and lead author of a paper in the Jan. 15 issue of PLOS ONE. 'It might be unpleasant to think about when going for a swim in the ocean, but the water is a soup of cells shed by what lives there,' Kelly said. Fish shed cells from their skin, damaged tissues and as body wastes. 'Every one of those cells has DNA and if you have the right tools you can tell what species the cell came from. Now we're working to find the relative abundance of each species present,' he said."
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DNA Detectives Count Thousands of Fish Using a Glass of Water

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  • yeah (Score:5, Funny)

    by hamburger lady (218108) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @08:00PM (#45971629)

    Being able to determine the relative abundance of fish species in a body of water is the next step in possibly using modern DNA identification techniques to census fish in the open ocean

    "the machine says that by far the pacific is full of a fish called...poly vinyl chloride. hm, that's a funny name."

  • Next step (Score:5, Funny)

    by easyTree (1042254) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @08:12PM (#45971727)

    Being able to determine the relative abundance of fish species in a body of water is the next step in possibly using modern DNA identification techniques to census fish in the open ocean

    Followed swiftly by fish taxation.

  • by worf_mo (193770) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @07:17AM (#45974775)

    Two decades ago I worked in a small team of “fish counters” to earn something during my time at university. This team was from the local government’s department of environmental protection and headed by a biologist. We’d drive up to a river, pull out our portable generator, drop one pole in the water, and walk in the river with the other pole, stunning the fish between the poles (they don’t die electrocuted, they are just stunned for a little while). We’d fish them out with nets, place them in large buckets and bring them on land, where the biologist counted and classified them before returning them to the river. His reports were then mainly used to assess the damages after an environmental disaster.

    Once we were called to a spot where an oil truck had ended up in a mountain river. While we approached the place we wondered how that could have happened - the road was straight, no obstacles, excellent road conditions. But when we arrived we understood: right before the spot where the truck had left the road was a huge billboard with an underwear ad, featuring a nice young lady in a thong and nothing else. The driver must have craned his neck until the truck touched down in the river.

Physician: One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. -- Ambrose Bierce

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