Taxonomy question


Mar 19, 2014
Okinawa, Japan
Hello all,

I'm not sure where to post my question so I thought this was the closest forum to what fit my question. I was just thinking about some research I would like to undertake using DNA extraction for phylogeny work and barcoding and am wondering if anyone else has had any experience in this? (Which primers etc could be used) Also was wondering if using a cuttlefish bone would be an easier way to get DNA that I could use rather than trying to capture species in the field or buying from fish markets. This would also save wasting an animal just for a small amount of DNA needed. Feel free to move this thread if it should be in a different spot.

Thanks in advance!
DNA studies can be very convenient because you can take a very small amount of live tissue (which will heal/grow back) and don't need to sacrifice the animal. I don't know of anyone using cuttlebone for tissue, but because the cuttlebone is internal, it requires killing the animal, and any cuttlebone acquired commercially has likely been cooked and/or dried (which would likely ruin the DNA). Also- for many DNA studies it's essential to know where your sample came from, which is hard to do with some fisheries-caught data/store-bought specimens.

But- if you don't have the means to collect the tissue from the field yourself, a very interesting study would be to compile tissue from animals sold in the aquarium trade and see how well the visual ID matches with the DNA. For example, how different are the many animals sold as A. aculeatus?

The main thing to do is to figure out what the research question is, and how (or whether) DNA tools are best suited to answer the question.
I'm not sure how much organic material you could get from a cuttlebone. I don't know much about DNA extraction. I do agree that any cuttlebone you acquire from the pet store would have been from an animal fished and killed for the purpose of supplying the pet store, so you are not really saving an animal from death... Depending on where you are located, you could collect them off the beach, but again, not sure how much usable tissue there would be inside the cuttlebone. Cool structures, though.
Excellent paper, thank you for pointing me to that. I will be scavenging through it for techniques and will probably be tweaking a lot as well. @cuttlegirl by saving an animal from death I should have been more clear so I apologize. I meant me specifically going out and collecting/killing for the purpose of DNA work. If I can save that one animal in the field and collect one that has already been killed and used for whatever purpose I would feel better. Also where I am right now there are a few cuttlebones washed up on shore so I would be able to collect that way as well. This might be a "go and try" to see if it works as I haven't seen anything online or in journals to indicate this works or does not. For Science!!
To minimize scientific death for DNA studies, one of the points that @mucktopus that may or may not be helpful is that you can cut a small portion of tissue from an arm (that will regrow) of a live animal. Another might be to go to your local dock fish market and purchase animals already acquired for food since the incoming day fishing boats will be roughly in the same area as anything washed ashore.
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