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Unique non-invasive capture of aye-aye DNA from feeding trees.

Aye-aye photo courtesy Ed. Louis Jr.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Dr. Megan Aylward and colleagues (A. P Sullivan, G.H. Perry, S.E. Johnson, E.E. Louis Jr) recently published a peer reviewed article summarizing the successful employment of a unique DNA capture procedure. The procedure involved sampling aye-aye feeding trees for individual's saliva. Aye-ayes leave behind very distinct feeding traces in the trees they feed on for extracting larvae. When the aye-aye is extracting the larvae they leave behind small traces of their biological material (saliva). Dr. Aylward successfully sampled such feeding trees and was able to target aye-aye DNA from these low quality samples. The procedure involves filtering out exogenous DNA and isolating the aye-aye DNA. This research is an important use of next-generation molecular techniques on a species of conservation concern. 

Aylward completed her PhD in 2017 with supervisor Dr. Steig Johnson. 

Important work - congratulations to all authors! 

"An environmental DNA sampling method for aye-ayes from their feeding traces." (2018) M.L. Aylward, A.P. Sullivan, G.H. Perry, S.E. Johnson, E.E. Louis Jr. Ecology and Evolution.