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Researchers Track Hammerhead Shark Fins To Source Using DNA Barcodes

For the first time, DNA tools have successfully pinpointed the geographic origin of shark fins sold dried in markets to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup, a Chinese delicacy.

Using CSI-like genetic methods, scientists have traced scalloped hammerhead shark fins from a burgeoning Hong Kong fish market to the sharks' original populations, some of which are endangered and located in waters thousands of miles away, according to a new study published in the journal Endangered Species Research.

"Shark fins are popular because serving fin soup at important events, such as weddings and banquets, is a sign of wealth and status," lead author Demian Chapman told Discovery News. "Think of it as a Lexus in a bowl."

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