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).

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 September 21, 2014 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 September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) — The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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