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Identification of suspect sea turtle meat samples and determination of species, a law enforcement problem
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Identification of suspect sea turtle meat samples and determination of species, a law enforcement problem
  • Description:
    "In 1973, the Congress of the United States passed the Endangered Species Act in order to provide for the conservation of endangered and threatened species (1). The Act, as amended in 1976, 1977 and 1978, clearly defined species of sea turtle which were endangered or threatened, and outlined unlawful actions subject to the juris- diction of the United States. Law enforcement agents in several agencies were responsible for the execution of the provisions of the Act. In order to enforce several of these provisions, including unlawful trade and possession of sea turtle, an effective means of identifying sea turtle meat by species was required. Since normal anatomical and morphological characteristics could not be used in the identification of meat samples, another method was demanded. Electrophoretic methods have been applied in the past to the successful speciation of numerous varieties of plants and populations of animals. In particular several closely related species of fishes as well as several crab species have been differentiated on the basis of sophisticated isoelectric focusing techniques (2-7). Our investigations of both electrophoretic and isoelectric focusing techniques revealed the distinct advantages of the latter in differentiating turtle meat samples by species. Some of the advantages offered by the isoelectric focusing method were the relative speed of analysis, insensitivity to sample application technique, and high resolution with excellent reproducibility. The purpose of this paper is to explain the application of the isoelectric focusing technique to the resolution of extracted turtle meat proteins and hence to the identification of several species of threatened and endangered sea turtles"--Introduction.
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