Hello from Wellington NZ

Stephanie

Larval Mass
Registered
#1
Hello,

Just saying 'hi' to introduce myself, since I signed up a few months ago & haven't posted anything yet.

I'm a biology undergrad here in Wellington, NZ and because my course focusses a lot on molecular biology, I don't know too much about actual animals as such (a shameful state for an aspiring biologist!).

I joined up to read & learn more about cephalopods but I've enjoyed the site so much, that after I read all the articles in the science section, I just sort of stayed!

Steph
 

Steve O'Shea

Colossal Squid
Supporter
#4
Indeed, a warm :welcome: Stephanie. A little birdy tells me that you're working on Architeuthis genetics, which is pretty cool (I pm'd Stephanie last eve and got the lowdown; trust you don't mind me bringing it up).

So, I got to thinking last night, as I do (better than TV), about ways to increase the number of tissue samples of Archi, given few specimens actually make their way back to museums in New Zealand these days (coz the fishing industry don't like me anymore). And it dawned on me that the potential for securing tissue samples is 10-fold greater nowadays than ever before.

Many of these stranded sperm whales have actually got 4+ giant squid beaks in their stomachs (a number up to 7). Surely there's a way to extract DNA from the beak itself (though don't ask me what the composition of the beak is). The problem is that all samples thus far have been fixed in formalin, and have been exposed to the digestive juices of the whale. It's a horrible job, but what we could do in the future is extract the larger/obvious beaks of Architeuthis from the foul-smelling contents prior to fixing them in formalin, and place those beaks into 90% ETOH (formalin is a necessary evil in this game - I wouldn't waste my time with ethanol). In fact we could do this for a number of rather interesting large-bodied species of squid in the diet of these animals.

We just have to wait for the next stranding. Over the past 2 years, off West Coast Auckland beaches, four separate stranding events have occurred in the austral Spring & Summer (October to December) [1 pod of males, 2 separate males and one female]. Do you think it is possible to extract DNA from these beaks? If you thought you could get something meaningful from DNA-fixed material I would send a ton of stuff down.

Cheers
Me
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
Supporter
#5
:welcome: Stephanie


What techniques are you using???? I tried RAPDS for Nototodarus with no success. We were using an acid precipitation method which didn't work to precipitate DNA :mad: I'd be really interested to hear what your using and what your yield is etc!

Cheers

Jean (waaaaaaay down south in Dunedin!)
 

Stephanie

Larval Mass
Registered
#7
Hi Jean,

I am really new to this (I had to look up what 'RAPD' meant, and I don't know what acid precipitation is!), but phenol-chloroform extraction seems to have worked just fine with squid DNA. I'm not sure about the yield yet, as I am a complete beginner and still need to learn some of the procedures that are used for DNA quantification.

Steve, I have never seen a squid beak in my life - are they like fingernails, or is there instead something that looks 'cellular' in them?

Steph
 

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