Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-clamping using blocking primer and DNA-analogs, such as peptide nucleotide acid (PNA), may be used to selectively amplify target DNA for molecular diet analysis. We investigated PCR-clamping efficiency by studying PNA position and mismatch with complementary DNA by designing PNAs at five different positions on the nuclear rDNA internal transcribed spacer 1 of the Japanese eel Anguilla japonica in association with intra-specific nucleotide substitutions. All five PNAs were observed to efficiently inhibit amplification of a fully complementary DNA template. One mismatch between PNA and template DNA inhibited amplification of the template DNA, while two or more mismatches did not. DNA samples extracted from dorsal muscle and intestine of eight wild-caught leptochephalus larvae were subjected to this analysis, followed by cloning, nucleotide sequence analysis, and database homology search. Among 12 sequence types obtained from the intestine sample, six were identified as fungi. No sequence similarities were found in the database for the remaining six types, which were not related to one another. These results, in conjunction with our laboratory observations on larval feeding, suggest that eel leptocephali may not be dependent upon living plankton for their food source.
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