Title page for ETD etd-05182012-153455

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Darwent, Lee
Email leedarwent@live.com
URN etd-05182012-153455
Document Title The application of a PCR based species identification method to African wildlife
Degree MSc
Department Production Animal Studies
Advisor Name Title
Prof A Gunthrie Co-Supervisor
Dr C Harper Supervisor
  • African wildlife species
  • domestic animals
  • species
Date 2012-04-13
Availability unrestricted
Molecular based species identification is a useful tool in forensic investigations as well as routine work. The ability to cheaply and quickly determine the species of origin of a sample has become increasingly necessary as incidents of wildlife poaching, illegal meat trade and the trade of wildlife products has increased. The current methods of species identification tend to be expensive, time consuming and unreliable.

The use of species-specific primers designed to bind to specific areas in the mitochondrial DNA, has been published. This application has been developed for a small number of domestic animals, however the application of these primers to African wildlife species has yet to be done. This method is relatively simple and is based on specific fragment size amplification using polymerase chain reaction and genotyping. A total of thirty seven different species were analyzed with this method and 30 of these species were found to have species-specific fragment sizes. A number of different sample types and conditions were tested including uncommon diagnostic samples such as rhinoceros horn, teeth and claws. In addition, the sensitivity of the method was investigated and determined to be very high, detecting species at a DNA concentration of just 0.1 pg/μl.

This method was found to be a highly sensitive, efficient and a fast way to determine species in a number of different sample types and would therefore be of great value in the wildlife trade as these samples can often be of a lower quality or only available in small amounts. The use of this method in forensic science must be done with care due to the problem of cross species amplification. In addition not all of the African Wildlife mammals were available to test, limiting the detection power and specificity of the test.

Copyright 2012, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria

Please cite as follows:

Darwent, L 2012, The application of a PCR based species identification method to African wildlife, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05182012-153455 / >


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