Segura-Göthlin, S., Fernández, A., Arbelo, M. et al. 2021. The validation of a non-invasive skin sampling device for detecting cetacean Poxvirus. Animals 11(10), 2814.

Poxvirus-like lesions are widely used as a potential health indicator in cetaceans, although for this application, corroboration of Poxvirus skin disease is imperative. Aiming to address skin biopsies intrusiveness, a preliminary investigation of a non-invasive skin sampling procedure to molecularly detect CePV-1 in 12 tattoo-like-lesions from two free-ranging stranded cetaceans in the Canary Islands was performed. Skin lesions were brushed with cytology cell samplers (CCSs) and placed into 1.5 mL microcentrifuge tubes with 1 mL of RNAlaterTM Stabilization Solution. For factual comparisons, DNA extractions from sloughed skin obtained with CCS and biopsies from the same lesions were accomplished with DNA Tissue Kit STM (QuickGene, Kurabo, Japan). Moreover, a second DNA extraction from sloughed skin with DNeasyTM Blood and Tissue Kit (Qiagen, Inc., Valencia, CA, USA) was performed to ascertain kit suitability for CCS. Molecular detection of CePV-1 was performed through a real-time PCR. As a result, a 91.7% and 83.3% rates of positivity were obtained with biopsies and CCS through Quickgene, respectively, compared to the rate of 100% using CCS with Qiagen. Accordingly, CCS is a reliable non-invasive sampling device to obtain sufficient genetic material to be analyzed for CePV-1 in tattoo-skin-lesions as well as for other purposes in cetaceans under human care.

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