DNA Fingerprinting of Pearls to Determine their Origins
Abstract: We report the first successful extraction of oyster DNA from a pearl and use it to identify the source oyster species for the three major pearl-producing oyster species Pinctada margaritifera, P. maxima and P. radiata. Both mitochondrial and nuclear gene fragments could be PCR-amplified and sequenced. A polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assay in the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region was developed and used to identify 18 pearls of unknown origin. A micro-drilling technique was developed to obtain small amounts of DNA while maintaining the commercial value of the pearls. This DNA fingerprinting method could be used to document the source of historic pearls and will provide more transparency for traders and consumers within the pearl industry.
Author(s): J.B. Meyer, L.E. Cartier, E.A. Pinto-Figueroa, M.S. Krzemnicki, H.A. Haenni, B.A. McDonald