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Keywords:

  • acute-phase response;
  • capture–release;
  • dolphins;
  • microarray;
  • stress;
  • transcriptome

Abstract

The health of wild bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) is typically evaluated by the study of animals that are captured and released back into the wild after examination. The impact of such studies on gene expression in peripheral blood cells was investigated using microarray and quantitative polymerase chain reaction methods. Significantly increased expression was observed in two major classes of genes: (i) energy metabolism, and (ii) responsiveness to stress and trauma, the latter effect suggesting the initiation of an acute-phase response. The value of data obtained in capture/release studies may need to be weighed against the potential physiological impacts of such studies.