A small number (5-10) midwife toads will be sampled from each population using minimally invasive buccal swabs, in order to collect DNA for analysis. This shouldn't cause any harm to the animals compared with other alternate methods. These swabs will then be collated and sent to the University College Dublin where they will be processed. Here the midwife toad mitochondrial DNA will be extracted and amplified at which point it will be sent off to be sequenced by Macrogen. Once we've received the sequences (COI and 16s), they will be compared with already known sequences using BLAST to determine where the toads originated from. COI are universal bar-coding genes and 16s are more amphibian species, both will help us work out exactly where the toads came from!
The biggest challenge this project will face is gaining permission to the private residencies in which contain feral populations of midwife toads. By working closely with the local network of Amphibian and Reptile Groups (ARGs) we hope to alleviate this somewhat.
This project has not yet shared any protocols.