A single mini-barcode test to screen for Australian mammalian predators from environmental samples

Elodie MODAVE, Anna MACDONALD, SD SARRE

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    4 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Identification of species from trace samples is now possible through the comparison of diagnostic DNA fragments against reference DNA sequence databases. DNA detection of animals from non-invasive samples, such as predator faeces (scats) that contain traces of DNA from their species of origin, has proved to be a valuable tool for the management of elusive wildlife. However, application of this approach can be limited by the availability of appropriate genetic markers. Scat DNA is often degraded, meaning that longer DNA sequences, including standard DNA barcoding markers, are difficult to recover. Instead, targeted short diagnostic markers are required to serve as diagnostic mini-barcodes. The mitochondrial genome is a useful source of such trace DNA markers because it provides good resolution at the species level and occurs in high copy numbers per cell. We developed a mini-barcode based on a short (178 bp) fragment of the conserved 12S ribosomal ribonucleic acid mitochondrial gene sequence, with the goal of discriminating amongst the scats of large mammalian predators of Australia. We tested the sensitivity and specificity of our primers and can accurately detect and discriminate amongst quolls, cats, dogs, foxes, and devils from trace DNA samples. Our approach provides a cost-effective, time-efficient, and non-invasive tool that enables identification of all 8 medium-large mammal predators in Australia, including native and introduced species, using a single test. With modification, this approach is likely to be of broad applicability elsewhere.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbergix052
    JournalGigaScience
    Volume6
    Issue number8
    Early online date2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

    Fingerprint

    DNA
    Genetic Markers
    DNA sequences
    Introduced Species
    Mitochondrial Genome
    Mitochondrial Genes
    Nucleic Acid Databases
    Genes
    Feces
    Mammals
    Cats
    Cell Count
    RNA
    Dogs
    Costs and Cost Analysis
    Sensitivity and Specificity
    Animals
    Availability
    Costs

    Cite this

    MODAVE, Elodie ; MACDONALD, Anna ; SARRE, SD. / A single mini-barcode test to screen for Australian mammalian predators from environmental samples. In: GigaScience. 2017 ; Vol. 6, No. 8.
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    A single mini-barcode test to screen for Australian mammalian predators from environmental samples. / MODAVE, Elodie; MACDONALD, Anna; SARRE, SD.

    In: GigaScience, Vol. 6, No. 8, gix052, 01.08.2017.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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