Author(s): Dajana Davitkov, Milos Vucicevic, Uros Glavinic, Ivan Skadric, Vladimir Nesic, Jevrosima Stevanovic, Zoran Stanimirovic
Keywords:birds, capillary electrophoresis, CHD1 gene, species determination, sex determination, wildlife trafficking
Nowadays, illegal trafficking and smuggling of animals are among the greatest threats to many avian species. Most commonly smuggled birds belong to parrots, song birds, raptor species and owls. All of these species are protected by national and international legislations. In order to prevent and reduce wildlife trafficking, DNA methods have become an important forensic tool in species and sex identification. In this study, CHD1R/CHD1F primer pair was used to amplify a part of the CHD1 gene from 65 birds that belong to 43 species. For 36 species this is the first time that the length of CHD1 amplicons was measured for the purpose of species determination. The results were visualized using capillary electrophoresis and enabled simultaneous determination of sex and species. Based on the number of amplicons (two in females, one in males) sex was successfully determined in all species, even in cases where gel electrophoresis failed to give results. Moreover, the species was successfully determined in most bird species based on the species-specific sizes of CHD1 amplicon. The method used in this study is of great importance for veterinary forensic medicine and the prevention of wildlife smuggling. Still, further work is necessary to confirm the effectiveness of the method in all bird species.
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