Title of Project

Can Non-invasive Genetic Sampling Reveal the Identity of Felid Species on the Verge of Extinction?

Researcher Information

Brigitte D. Shaw

Project Type

Event

Location

Alvin Sherman Library 2053

Start Date

4-4-2003 12:00 AM

End Date

4-4-2003 12:00 AM

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Apr 4th, 12:00 AM Apr 4th, 12:00 AM

Can Non-invasive Genetic Sampling Reveal the Identity of Felid Species on the Verge of Extinction?

Alvin Sherman Library 2053

Thirty-seven of the thirty-eight species of extant felids are listed as endangered or threatened. This work is an attempt to determine the identity of one of these threatened species living in a zoo in Baños, Ecuador. Based on the individual felid’s history and physical features, it is hypothesized that it is a Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi).We also tested known domestic cat samples as a control. Collecting sources of DNA (such as blood or other tissue samples) for analysis of species identification is difficult when wild carnivores such as felids are the sample population. A more accessible noninvasive method for collecting DNA is hair sampling from either plucked or shed hairs. Although hair samples contain smaller amounts of DNA than blood or other tissues, the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) can be used to amplify highly conserved mtDNA sequences of felids. Individual felid species and subspecies can be determined from one another by using conserved universal primers, PCR, and restriction enzymes. Restriction digest analysis of the amplified mitochondrial regions (using restriction enzymes that target known species mutational differences in these mtDNA regions) is one method used to identify the species of subspecies of unknown felidae samples. This is done by comparing the unknown samples with sample where the felid identity is kno wn.