Shedding feathers means shedding DNA

In Sept 2007 Mol Ecol Notes researchers from Purdue University, National Aviary Pittsburgh, and Naurzum National Nature Reserve in Kazakhstan report on recovery of DNA from feathers of eastern imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca) and related species. 

Amplifying mtCOI barcode region from naturally shed feathers stored dry at room temperature, Rudnick et al successfully identified 276 (90%) of 314 feathers. 

They conclude that as reference libraries grow, "molecular techniques will supplement if not supplant other means of feather identification in situations where postive identification by visual means is cryptic".

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