Fluorescent molecules have revolutionized the field of molecular biology and biotechnology, and could be of benefit to research conducted on economically important haliotid species (abalone) for applications such as protein analysis, cell metabolism studies, fluorescence resonance energy transfer, cell imaging, and reporter genes for gene transfer. Many marine organisms exhibit autofluorescence; therefore, this raises the question whether autofluorescence also occurs in abalone and whether it could hinder fluorescence studies. We examined ova, sperm, larvae, juveniles, and hemocyte cell cultures of the southern African abalone (Haliotis midae Linnaeus, 1758) and established that ova, larvae, and juveniles exhibited autofluorescence at most wavelengths tested, especially in the mid-wavelength range of the visible spectrum. Autofluorescence was particularly prominent at the same wavelengths as that of green fluorescent proteins. Therefore, we caution studies using fluorescent molecules with emissions in the mid-wavelength range and suggest the use of molecules with emissions at the extremes of the light spectra.
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Vol. 31 • No. 3