Species Characterisation from Hair of Protected Mammals: Comparison of Molecular Methods

  • Vivek Sahajpal
  • S. P. Goyal


Human interference has increased exploitation of the wildlife subsequently leading to their extinction. India being a mega-biodiversity nation faces most of the heat due to rampant poaching and growing illegal wildlife trade. Hence it is very crucial to develop techniques which can characterise the species from artefacts seized under the wildlife laws. In this regard, keratin protein possesses a huge promise for its utility in species designation. Most of the land mammals produce keratin in either of the two forms, i.e. hair keratin or claw, bill, nail, hoof, etc. Keratins are considered to be the most heterogenous types of proteins after immunoglobulins due to their multiple gene loci coding. Thus, as synthesis of keratins is under genetic control and they are known to be polymorphic, the analysis of these proteins can be used for species identification; differentiating varieties, species, subspecies and even breeds; and perhaps even individualisation. In this chapter, the hair keratin protein of 20 selected artiodactyls species has been characterised to study their usability in species designation as well as application in wildlife forensics.


Keratin Protein Species designation Wildlife Forensics Identification 


Ethical Permission

The research work was carried out as Ph.D work at the Wildlife Institute of India, and it was part of the mandate of wildlife forensic lab/cell of the Wildlife Institute of India to create protocols for the species identification from wildlife parts and artefacts in illegal trade. All the samples used were from the repository of wildlife samples established at wildlife forensic lab under the mandate.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vivek Sahajpal
    • 1
  • S. P. Goyal
    • 2
  1. 1.State Forensic Science LaboratoryJungaIndia
  2. 2.Wildlife Institute of IndiaDehradunIndia

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