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DNA-Based Diet Analysis for Any Predator


Dunshea, GJ, DNA-Based Diet Analysis for Any Predator, PLoS One, 4, (4) pp. e5252. ISSN 1932-6203 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005252


Background: Prey DNA from diet samples can be used as a dietary marker; yet current methods for prey detection require a priori diet knowledge and/or are designed ad hoc, limiting their scope. I present a general approach to detect diverse prey in the feces or gut contents of predators. Methodology/Principal Findings: In the example outlined, I take advantage of the restriction site for the endonuclease Pac I which is present in 16S mtDNA of most Odontoceti mammals, but absent from most other relevant non-mammalian chordates and invertebrates. Thus in DNA extracted from feces of these mammalian predators Pac I will cleave and exclude predator DNA from a small region targeted by novel universal primers, while most prey DNA remain intact allowing prey selective PCR. The method was optimized using scat samples from captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) fed a diet of 6-10 prey species from three phlya. Up to five prey from two phyla were detected in a single scat and all but one minor prey item (2% of the overall diet) were detected across all samples. The same method was applied to scat samples from free-ranging bottlenose dolphins; up to seven prey taxa were detected in a single scat and 13 prey taxa from eight teleost families were identified in total. Conclusions/Significance: Data and further examples are provided to facilitate rapid transfer of this approach to any predator. This methodology should prove useful to zoologists using DNA-based diet techniques in a wide variety of study systems. © 2009 Dunshea.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Ecology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Dunshea, GJ (Mr Glenn Dunshea)
ID Code:56457
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:47
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2009-05-05
Last Modified:2011-11-24

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