Monday, 22 October 2012

Bowhead Whales: Ancient DNA Sheds Light On Arctic Whale Mysteries


ScienceDaily (Oct. 19, 2012) — Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History, City University of New York, and other organizations have published the first range-wide genetic analysis of the bowhead whale using hundreds of samples from both modern populations and archaeological sites used by indigenous Arctic hunters thousands of years ago.
In addition to using DNA samples collected from whales over the past 20 years, the team collected genetic samples from ancient specimens -- extracted from old vessels, toys, and housing material made from baleen -- preserved in pre-European settlements in the Canadian Arctic. The study attempts to shed light on the impacts of sea ice and commercial whaling on this threatened but now recovering species. The study appears in the most recent edition of Ecology and Evolution.
"Our study represents the first genetic analysis of bowheads across their entire range," said Elizabeth Alter, the study's lead author and now a professor at City University of New York. 
"The study also illustrates the value of ancient DNA in answering questions about the impact of changing climate and human exploitation on genetic diversity in bowhead whales."


No comments:

Post a comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

ShareThis