Animal DNA The sequencing of DNA is being used in a variety of species to produce ‘barcodes’ that allow the identification of individuals in some of the species threatened with extinction by illegal trade. 

Since researchers plotted the entire human genome they have gone on to do the same for a whole variety of creatures that fly, walk or swim. 

Databases are being compiled that will allow law enforcement officials to identify exactly who a quite tiny sample of cell tissue represents, it’s relationship with other individuals and where it comes from. Specialised DNA research methods can be powerful tools for investigating wildlife forensics, with new methods continually being developed. 

Forensic analysis involving endangered species is used to identify species (is this material from a tiger?), populations(is this ivory from an elephant from Kenya or South Africa?), individuals maternal lineage, (is this chick the offspring of this bird?) and individuality (did this bloodstain come from this specific bear?). 

Article by Gwynne Howels

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