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Title: A Low-Cost Method of Skin Swabbing for the Collection of DNA Samples from Small Laboratory Fish.
Authors: Breacker, Carl
Barber, Iain
Norton, William H. J.
McDearmid, Jonathan R.
Tilley, Ceinwen A.
First Published: 27-Oct-2016
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert
Citation: Zebrafish, Volume 13, Number 6, 2016
Abstract: Fin clipping of live fish under anesthesia is widely used to collect samples for DNA extraction. An alternative, potentially less invasive, approach involves obtaining samples by swabbing the skin of nonanesthetized fish. However, this method has yet to be widely adopted for use in laboratory studies in the biological and biomedical sciences. Here, we compare DNA samples from zebrafish Danio rerio and three-spined sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus collected via fin clipping and skin swabbing techniques, and test a range of DNA extraction methods, including commercially available kits and a lower-cost, in-house method. We verify the method for polymerase chain reaction analysis, and examine the potential risk of cross contamination between individual fish that are netted together. We show that swabbing, which may not require the use of anesthesia or analgesics, offers a reliable alternative to fin clipping. Further work is now required to determine the relative effects of fin clipping and swabbing on the stress responses and subsequent health of fish, and hence the potential of swabbing as a refinement to existing DNA sampling procedures.
DOI Link: 10.1089/zeb.2016.1348
ISSN: 1545-8547
eISSN: 1557-8542
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright Carl Breacker, et al., 2016 Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. This Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited
Description: All work was undertaken under the authority of a UK Home Office project licence, in accordance with local and national regulations.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

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