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Harp seal ageing techniques-teeth, aspartic acid racemization, and telomere sequence analysis


Garde, E and Frie, AK and Dunshea, G and Hansen, SH and Kovacs, KM and Lydersen, C, Harp seal ageing techniques-teeth, aspartic acid racemization, and telomere sequence analysis, Journal of Mammalogy, 91, (6) pp. 1365-1374. ISSN 0022-2372 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1644/10-MAMM-A-080.1


Lower jaws (containing the teeth), eyes, and skin samples were collected from harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus) in the southeastern Barents Sea for the purpose of comparing age estimates obtained by 3 different methods, the traditional technique of counting growth layer groups (GLGs) in teeth and 2 novel approaches, aspartic acid racemization (AAR) in eye lens nuclei and telomere sequence analyses as a proxy for telomere length. A significant correlation between age estimates obtained using GLGs and AAR was found, whereas no correlation was found between GLGs and telomere length. An AAR rate (kAsp) of 0.00130/year ± 0.00005 SE and a D-enantiomer to L-enantiomer ratio at birth (D/L0 value) of 0.01933 ± 0.00048 SE were estimated by regression of D/L ratios against GLG ages from 25 animals (12 selected teeth that had high readability and 13 known-aged animals). AAR could prove to be useful, particularly for ageing older animals in species such as harp seals where difficulties in counting GLGs tend to increase with age. Age estimation by telomere length did not show any correlation with GLG ages and is not recommended for harp seals. © 2010 American Society of Mammalogists.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal developmental and reproductive biology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Dunshea, G (Mr Glenn Dunshea)
ID Code:67231
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2011-03-01
Last Modified:2014-11-24

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