Profiling pythons to combat common illegal wildlife activities

Sherryn Ciavaglia, Julianne Henry, Adrian Linacre

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Reptiles are the most common illegally traded vertebrates leading to many species becoming extinct or highly endangered; yet these species receive relatively low publicity and few genetic tests are available. Sought after as unusual pets and trophies, reptilian skin and meat are also valuable commodities, while certain anatomical features are valued in traditional medicinal cultures. The Australian carpet python is a popular target for illegal trade, breeding and export activities. It provides a model example for which to develop forensic markers that will positively impact wildlife criminal investigation and enforcement both in Australia and worldwide. We report on the initial isolation and characterisation of 24 polymorphic Short Tandem Repeat (STR) loci to enable individualisation and paternity testing of carpet pythons. These novel loci have been examined for their polymorphic content, heterozygosity and species specificity. The loci are being arranged into multiplex reactions exhibiting heterozygote balance with subsequent determination of stutter measurements. Allelic frequency databases of native populations are being developed that will allow not only match probabilities but also will potentially predict geographic origin of poached individuals. This profiling system will be subject to rigorous validation for use in legal proceedings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2013
    Event25th World Congress of the International Society for Forensic Genetics - Melbourne, Australia
    Duration: 2 Sept 20137 Sept 2013
    Conference number: 25


    Conference25th World Congress of the International Society for Forensic Genetics
    Abbreviated titleISFG 2013


    • Australian pythons
    • DNA profiling
    • Forensic
    • Individualisation
    • Multiplex
    • STR
    • Transnational crime
    • Wildlife trade


    Dive into the research topics of 'Profiling pythons to combat common illegal wildlife activities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this