Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

DNA Reveals Hooded Seals Have Wanderlust

Date:
May 14, 2007
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
An international team of researchers have learned that all the hooded seal populations in the world share the same genetic diversity.

An international team of researchers led by Dr. David Coltman, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Alberta, have learned that all the hooded seal populations in the world share the same genetic diversity.
Credit: Mike Hammill, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Researchers have discovered a new fact about hooded seals, a mysterious 200 to 400 kilogram mammal that spends all but a few days each year in the ocean.

An international team of researchers led by Dr. David Coltman, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Alberta, have learned that all the hooded seal populations in the world share the same genetic diversity. The researchers reached their conclusions after analysis of more than 20 years of DNA samples taken from hundreds of hooded seals from around the world.

"These results mean that if you brought me a DNA sample of a hooded seal, I wouldn't be able to tell you where in the world you got that sample because of the genetic similarity between populations," Coltman said.

"This is important information because it helps shed light on an animal that we know very little about," he added.

Female hooded seals give birth (whelp) and wean their pups on ice floes over a period of three to four days once every year in the spring. Male seals wait until the females finish weaning for the one time of year when they will mate. The researchers believe the genetic similarities among the seals indicate these seals intermingle and mate among populations.

There are four places in the world where hooded seals go to whelp: Davis Straight in northern Canada, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the eastern coast off of Greenland, and the coast off of Labrador. Ninety per cent of the estimated 600,000 hooded seals in the world whelp off the coast of Labrador.

Hooded seals are often harvested--especially juveniles--for their meat, blubber and light blue coats. Hooded seals are slightly larger than their cousins, harp seals, which are more famously harvested and often amidst controversy. Much less is known about the behavior of hooded seals compared to what is known about harp seals, which is a much more social breed of seal.

"Any little bit of information we can learn about hooded seals is really beneficial," Coltman said. "And now that we know hooded seals are panmictic, that is, that they interbreed worldwide, it can help us shape the way that we try to preserve and manage them."

The research is published this month in the journal Molecular Ecology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "DNA Reveals Hooded Seals Have Wanderlust." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070509161009.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2007, May 14). DNA Reveals Hooded Seals Have Wanderlust. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070509161009.htm
University of Alberta. "DNA Reveals Hooded Seals Have Wanderlust." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070509161009.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins