Genetic techniques get seal of approval

April 25, 1997

Scientists are using new genetic techniques to identify the sex and species of a seal from its droppings in an attempt to find out which seals are eating commercially-important fish. Half the world population of grey seals, about 110,000, live in British waters and consume an estimated 76,000 tones of fish per year, bringing them into conflict with fishermen.

Feeding habits vary with species and sex, but droppings are indistinguishable, making targetted conservation or management action difficult. Now scientists at Cambridge and Aberdeen universities have successfully extracted, amplified and analysed DNA from tiny numbers of cells from the seal's gut wall excreted in its droppings.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns