Guy Harvey Research Institute students Andrea Bernard and Rebekah Horn recently collaborated on a newly published billfish research paper with NOAA and the University of Miami medical school. The study reported in the paper, which was published in the highly respected scientific journal Fishery Bulletin, demonstrates that surface mucous from billfish contains enough DNA for subsequent genetic studies, allowing a rapid and non-invasive method for obtaining billfish DNA.
The current method for collecting DNA from live billfish usually involves restraining the fish and excising tissue, a procedure that is both difficult to carry out and dangerous to the fish as it often causes stress on the fish that can affect the chances of survival.
The results of the new study show that DNA found in the fish’s surface mucous is just as suitable for DNA analysis as muscle tissue DNA, therefore negating the need to use more invasive techniques for DNA collection (which is used for identifying and analyzing different stocks of billfish for fisheries management as well as to track the trade of body parts of protected fish).
Great work Andrea and Rebekah and thanks to Dr. Mahmood Shivji for his continued leadership at the GHRI.