A rapid allelic discrimination real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay has been developed for the confirmation of lion (Panthera leo) or tiger (P. tigris) DNA. The method includes a low cost allele specific PCR assay designed for each SNP variant where the genotype is determined by incorporation and subsequent fluorescence of FAM or HEX following PCR. The described method was able to accurately and rapidly distinguish between the two species, and all three mitochondrial regions (16S, 12S and control region) performed equally well. The proposed real-time PCR assay can be applied for the accurate confirmation of either lion or tiger DNA that could be used by law enforcement agencies around the world as a tool to monitor illegal trade of tiger bones.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded directly by National Zoological Gardens of South Africa and TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network with additional support from The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Wildlife TRAPS Project implemented by TRAFFIC and IUCN. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of USAID.
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