Collecting genetic DNA from turtles is no easy feat, yet Dr. JJ Apodaca and his team at the Tangled Bank Conservation have partnered with Turtle Survival Alliance to embark on a nationwide project to build a spatial genetic database for various turtle species. With the rise of illegal poaching in the last ten years, conservationists have seen a rapid decline of native turtles in their natural habitats. Millions of turtles are being poached every year and now finally, with the support of federal and state agencies, teams like Tangled Bank are dedicated to returning these endangered turtles back into the wild.
“There are two ways to swab a turtle”
The samples collected from the turtles are placed into a genetic database that allows their network of agencies and conservational organizations to identify where the poached turtles came from and return them back to their natural habitat. “There are two ways to swab a turtle” mentions Apodaca, “we can have the turtle bite the swab and collect oral samples, or we can take a cloacal swab”. According to the Founder and lead scientist, “the cloaca is a one stop shop for reproduction and defecation, it’s super helpful to have a buffer like MAWI’s that selectively preserves vertebrate DNA above bacteria DNA”. With its high yield of concentrated animal DNA and ability to control bacterial DNA content, the MAWI iSWAB-Animal collection technology was the obvious choice for Apodaca’s team.
“Maintaining the integrity of the DNA”
MAWI DNA’s innovative and non-toxic iSWAB sample collection technology offers non-invasive collection and stabilization of long-fragment, double stranded DNA from animals. Maintaining the integrity of the DNA at the point of collection for samples collected in the field; iSWAB collection samples remain stable in room temperature for several years and even prevent bacterial DNA from contaminating the sample. iSWAB works universally with any swab and allows for more than one swab to be used per tube, whereas standard swab collection requires each swab to be processed individually. Mawi iSWABs have already helped Tangled Bank release adult and juvenile alligator snapping turtles back into the wild in their native Texas habitat” Tangled Bank shared. The Conservation is scheduled to release more endangered bog turtles back into the wild, later this year.
MAWI DNA Technologies’ mission to reduce plastic waste by creating an all-in-one iSWAB tube allows scientist to collect, concentrate, transport, extract, analyze and store collection samples in a single iSWAB collection device. By reducing laboratory waste our turtle friends can return to a safe and clean natural environment.
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