Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists use DNA from a museum specimen to study rarely observed type of killer whale

Date:
June 19, 2013
Source:
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Summary:
Researchers report using DNA from tissues samples collected in 1955 to study what may be a new type of killer whale (Orcinus orca).

In a scientific paper published in the journal Polar Biology, researchers report using DNA from tissues samples collected in 1955 to study what may be a new type of killer whale (Orcinus orca).

Related Articles


In 1955, a pod of unusual-looking killer whales stranded on a New Zealand beach and a skeleton was saved in a museum in Wellington. Photographs were also taken but it was almost 50 years before this unique form of killer whale, characterized by a very small white eye-patch and bulbous forehead, was documented alive in the wild.

Scientists have suspected for some time that there might be more than one type of killer whale, a theory supported by recent genetic studies. The so-called "type D" killer whale from New Zealand, however, was not included in previous genetic studies because no tissue samples were available. For the current study, scientist Andrew Foote (University of Copenhagen) extracted DNA from dried tissue and tooth fragments from the New Zealand skeleton, the only known specimen of type D killer whale.

A complete mitochondrial DNA sequence of the type D specimen was compared to samples of 139 killer whales from around the world. From that, Foote estimated that type D separated from other killer whales approximately 390,000 years ago, making it the second oldest branch in the killer whale family tree and possibly a separate subspecies or species. Dramatic changes in global sea level and ice sheet coverage during the Pleistocene may have contributed to the diversification of killer whales.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew D. Foote, Phillip A. Morin, Robert L. Pitman, Marνa C. Αvila-Arcos, John W. Durban, Anton Helden, Mikkel-Holger S. Sinding, M. Thomas P. Gilbert. Mitogenomic insights into a recently described and rarely observed killer whale morphotype. Polar Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s00300-013-1354-0

Cite This Page:

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. "Scientists use DNA from a museum specimen to study rarely observed type of killer whale." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619132530.htm>.
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. (2013, June 19). Scientists use DNA from a museum specimen to study rarely observed type of killer whale. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619132530.htm
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. "Scientists use DNA from a museum specimen to study rarely observed type of killer whale." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619132530.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) — A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) — Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — Activists hope the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) will label killer whales endangered, allowing lawyers to sue a Miami aquarium to release an orca into the wild after 44 years. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

Buzz60 (Jan. 23, 2015) — Some &apos;healthy&apos; foods are actually fattening. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) shines a light on the sneaky foods like nuts, seeds, granola, trail mix, avocados, guacamole, olive oil, peanut butter, fruit juices and salads that are good for you...but not so much for your waistline. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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