Send to:

Dr. Peter Dutton
8901 La JollaShores Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037

Phone: 858 546-5636
Fax: 858 546-7003

MATERIALS included in biopsy kit:

  • Salt preservative: saturated NaCl in polypropylene tubes
  • Razor blade, scalpel, or biopsy tool
  • Permanent ink marker, pencil, parafilm, and notecards


  • Live animals: skin or muscle biopsy
  • Dead animals: if fresh, heart and liver, if dead more than 2 hours, skin and muscle Fresh eggs and whole embryos from non-viable intact eggs


1) For live animals, collect up to 0.5 grams of skin or a biopsy approximately 0.5 cm diameter.  For dead animals, collect up to 5 grams of skin or muscle tissue.  (Avoid internal organs, which tend to decompose faster.)  Wearing gloves while handling the tissue and changing gloves in between samples from different individuals is ideal. Use a new blade or biopsy tool when collecting from each different individual.

2) Chop the tissue a few times with a razor blade to increase penetration of the preservative.

3) Add tissue to the tube with preservative. On the small piece of bond paper, write in pencil the ID number, species, location, and date. Put the piece of paper in the vial with each sample.

4) Label each vial (cap and side of the vial) using the permanent pen with the species, location, date, and field ID number; this number should be the one you use as a reference in your field records to identify any other information you collect.

5) Wrap parafilm around the cap and the top of the vial by stretching the parafilm as you wrap. This will prevent leaking while the sample is in transport. Double wrap in an airtight plastic bag for shipping.

6) Samples can be stored at ambient temperature for at least 1 year. Avoid extended exposure to heat or sunlight.

7) Ship samples by airfreight or express mail. Please include copies of permits (if required) and data sheets or stranding report on the samples collected.

Thank you for contributing to our research efforts!