Saturday, January 07, 2006

DNA can protect the great white shark specie!

Shark fin soup might sound strange to some but is a delicacy to many, and that desire for the soup is driving some to target the endangered great white shark, leaving one South Florida scientist to develop a new test to save the marine animal.

Conservation Geneticist Dr. Mahmood Shivji is conducting DNA research at Nova Southeastern University on the subject.Shivji has developed a way of finding out if the fins used to prepare your soup were acquired from the heavily protected great white shark, which marine biologists say is crucial to maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem around the world.

Many unscrupulous fishers are just cutting off the fins of live great whites to feed the heavy demand for shark fins in kitchens around the world. Most of these animals are thrown back in the water left to bleed to death.Though there are tough laws to protect these sharks, there was little that could be done to trace the origins of fins that have already been cut off by fishers. Now, with by cutting a small sliver of a fin, Shivji has developed a way of matching DNA and figuring out if your meal was fished illegally.


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