Australian marsupial species identification

Linzi Wilson-Wilde, Janette Norman, James Robertson, Stephen Sarre, Arthur Georges

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Wildlife crime, the illegal trade in animals and animal products, is a growing concern and valued at up to US$20 billion globally per year. Australia is often targeted for its unique fauna, proximity to South East Asia and porous borders. Marsupials of the order Diprotodontia (including koala, wombats, possums, gliders, kangaroos) are sometimes targeted for their skin, meat and for the pet trade. However, species identification for forensic purposes must be underpinned by robust phylogenetic information. A Diprotodont phylogeny containing a large number of taxa generated from nuclear and mitochondrial data has not yet been constructed. Here the mitochondrial (COI and ND2) and nuclear markers (APOB, IRBP and GAPD) are combined to create a more robust phylogeny to underpin a species identification method for the marsupial order Diprotodontia. Mitochondrial markers were combined with nuclear markers to amplify 27 genera of Diprotodontia. Data was analysed using a likelihood method. The combined data set resolved two suborders: Vombatiformes and Phalangeriformes. Phalangeriformes was subsequently split into two clades. The first clade contained the Macropodiformes and Burramyidae. The second clade contained Petauridae, grouping with Phalangeroidea. Of the markers tested, ND2 provided the greatest level of diagnostic accuracy and could be used as a forensic species identification tool for Diprotodonts, with appropriate validation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForensic Science International
Subtitle of host publicationGenetics Supplement Series
Place of PublicationNetherlands
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventWorld Congress of the International Society for Forensic Genetics - University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Duration: 29 Aug 20113 Sept 2011 (Conference Program)

Publication series

NameGenetics supplement series
PublisherElsevier Science
ISSN (Print)1875-175X


ConferenceWorld Congress of the International Society for Forensic Genetics
Abbreviated titleISFG
Internet address


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