SNP discovery and characterisation in White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum) with application to parentage assignment

Christiaan Labuschagne, Desire Lee Dalton, J. Paul Grobler, Antoinette Kotze

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Abstract

The white rhino is one of the great success stories of modern wildlife conservation, growing from as few as 50-100
animals in the 1880s, to approximately 20,000 white rhinoceros remaining today. However, illegal trade in
conservational rhinoceros horns is adding constant pressure on remaining populations. Captive management of ex
situ populations of endangered species using molecular methods can contribute to improving the management of the
species. Here we compare for the first time the utility of 33 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and nine
microsatellites (MS) in isolation and in combination for assigning parentage in captive White Rhinoceros. We found
that a combined dataset of SNPs and microsatellites was most informative with the highest confidence level. This
study thus provided us with a useful set of SNP and MS markers for parentage and relatedness testing. Further assessment of the utility of these markers over multiple (> three) generations and the incorporation of a larger variety of
relationships among individuals (e.g. half-siblings or cousins) is strongly suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-92
JournalGenetics and Molecular Biology
Volume40
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2017

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