Science | Technology

Whale Meat DNA Tested At OSU

OPB | April 15, 2010 2:25 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:08 a.m. | Portland, OR

Contributed By:

Beth Hyams By Beth Hyams

Scientists say DNA testing of whale meat from restaurants in South Korea and Los Angeles indicates that some of it came from Japan. That could offer evidence of an illegal trade in whale meat between the two countries.

Oregon State University scientists did the testing. OSU zoologist Scott Baker says teamwork brought him a sample from Los Angeles:

Scott Baker:  "My colleague Charles Hamilton essentially launched a small covert operation to go to the restaurant and purchase what was being advertised by the sushi chef as whale meat and to document that and to send us the products."

The work is part of an ongoing project monitoring sources of whale meat offered for sale. The results of the study were published in today's/yesterday's edition of the journal Biology Letters.

The study comes as the International Whaling Commission is considering allowing limited commercial whaling as a way of controlling it.

Japan continues to hunt whales, but a treaty prohibits the international sale of the meat.

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