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FISH AND GAME'S DNA DETECTIVE PROGRAM BOOSTED

 SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Wildlife forensic scientists at Department of Fish and Game (DFG) laboratories have received grants totalling more than $175,000 which will allow DNA testing in the war on poaching.
 The Redding-based McConnell Foundation is contributing $119,176 to the cause, with Emmett Burroughs promising the remainder -- in the form of "challenge grants."
 DNA testing relies on the examination of genetic information found in the tissue of organisms. Aside from its role in a current popular movie about dinosaurs, DNA testing recently contributed to the solution of a deer poaching case on the property of actor Clint Eastwood.
 In that case, California wardens were able to match tissue from the remains of a deer carcass found on Eastwood's Rising River Ranch with tissue found in possession of a suspected poacher who had denied taking the deer on the actor's property. DNA tests performed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife laboratories in Oregon proved the case.
 Triggered by that success, California Fish and Game wildlife pathologist Jim Banks approached the federal laboratories for more such testing and learned their caseload prohibited further work. DFG lacked the funds for the proposed new activity, so Banks submitted proposals to a number of other organizations.
 The McConnell Foundation, which has provided grants for a number of other community services in northern California, agreed July 26 to provide funds to Fish and Game.
 The grants cover two phases of the proposed DNA testing. The first would allow Fish and Game forensic scientists to determine the sex of an animal from tissue or blood stains. Expertise from the University of California at Davis will be used in this phase. The second phase of the grant would allow scientists to "individualize" tissues from two different sources, that is, to determine -- as in the Clint Eastwood case -- whether the tissues came from the same animal.
 "I think this is going to be one of those things we're going to look back on in 10 years and wonder how we lived without it," said a delighted Greg Laret, patrol captain in the Wildlife Protection Division at Sacramento Fish and Game headquarters.
 -0- 7/27/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Capps or Dave Dick of the Department of Fish and Game, 916-653-6420/


CO: California Department of Fish and Game ST: California IN: SU:

TM-TB -- SF006 -- 6199 07/27/93 11:47 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 27, 1993
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