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DNA-based diet analysis for any predator


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Dunshea, G 2009 , 'DNA-based diet analysis for any predator' , PLOS One, vol. 4, no. 4 , e5252 , doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005252.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Dunshea, G
Journal or Publication Title: PLOS One
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI / ID Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005252
Additional Information:

© 2009 Dunshea. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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