Development of a multiplex, PCR-based genotyping assay for African and Asian elephants for forensic purposes
Wildlife crimes and the threats they present to elephant populations raise the need to develop and implement DNA-based methodology as an aid for wildlife forensic investigations and conservation efforts. This study describes the development of a tetra-nucleotide repeat STR multiplex, genotyping assay that will identify Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and African elephant (Loxodonta africana) DNA. The assay targets six tetra-nucleotide STRs and two sex-typing markers simultaneously in both genera of elephants, a first for elephant genotyping assays. The developed assay has potential application in wildlife investigations to associate a biological sample to a particular individual elephant and additionally in conservation science for population management.
KeywordsWildlife forensics Elephant Validation Genotyping Loxodonta africana Elephas maximus
This work would not be possible without DNA sources from Six Flags: Safari Off Road Adventure, the Cincinnati Zoo, the St. Louis Zoo, the Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory, Quakertown Veterinary Clinic, and the Brandywine Zoo. Thank you for your contributions.
Arcadia University’s Master of Forensic Science Program, the University of the Sciences Biological Sciences Department, and the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences at Keystone College provided funds towards this project.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The authors did not come into contact nor were they responsible for the care of any animals in the course of this research; thus, ethical approval is not needed. Animal samples were collected by their caretakers.
Research involving human subjects
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (Keystone College IRB Committee IRB ID No. 2017-000673) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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