Skip to Main Content
To pluck or not to pluck: scientific methodologies should be carefully chosen, not 'one size fits all'Author(s): Todd E. Katzner; Maria Wheeler; Juan Jose Negro; Yula Kapetanakos; J. Andrew DeWoody; Horvath Marton; Irby Lovette
Source: Journal of Avian Biology. 43: 15-17.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Download Publication (105.25 KB)
DescriptionMcDonald and Griffith (2011) raise important points in their critique of reliance on feathers as a source of DNA for scientific research. Although those authors are right about many details, their one-size-fits all approach (i.e. prescribing blood draws for avian DNA analyses) obscures bigger picture issues that are of extraordinary relevance to avian biology. We introduce four points to provide alternative perspectives on their commentary. In particular, we feel that a) scientific goals should determine methodologies; b) stress to animals is context specific and blood sampling is not always less stressful to birds than feather plucking; c) feather DNA is too valuable to be ignored, especially when coupled with other analyses that require feathers; and d) logistical and other concerns often preclude blood sampling. A one size fits all approach to science is generally short-sighted, be it in regard to the collection of genetic or other samples from birds, or to a suite of other research problems.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationKatzner, Todd E.; Wheeler, Maria; Negro, Juan Jose; Kapetanakos, Yula; DeWoody, J. Andrew; Horvath, Marton; Lovette, Irby. 2012. To pluck or not to pluck: scientific methodologies should be carefully chosen, not 'one size fits all'. Journal of Avian Biology. 43: 15-17.
- Pilot assessment of mercury exposure in selected biota from the lowlands of Nicaragua [Evaluacion piloto de exposicion al mercurio en biota selecta de las tierras bajas de Nicaragua
- An improved extraction method to increase DNA yield from molted feathers
- Geographic and seasonal variation in mercury exposure of the declining Rusty Blackbird
XML: View XML