Breacker, C., Tilley, C. 2017. DNA sampling by skin swabbing for Zebrafish (Danio rerio) and sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Animal Technology and Welfare 16(3), 211-213.

Fin clipping of live fish under anaesthesia is widely used to collect tissues samples for DNA extraction. However, this technique raises a number of ethical concerns, since the use of anaesthetic and/or physical fin damage may cause behavioural changes, pain, suffering or lasting harm. Furthermore, fin clipping is a regulated procedure, is time intensive and requires significant training. An alternative approach is to obtain DNA samples by swabbing the skin of nonanaesthetised fish. However, this method has yet to be widely adopted for use in laboratory studies. We compared fin clips and skin swab methods for DNA extraction and PCR analysis of Zebrafish and Stickleback DNA. Here we show that swabbing provides a reliable alternative to fin clipping. Although this technique allows DNA sampling without anaesthesia further work is to be carried out to investigate stress responses for this method. The technique therefore has the potential for a less invasive alternative to the fin clip method. Further information can be found in the study by Breacker et al. (2017).

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