Tackling poaching: Recovery of human DNA profiles from deer remains

Shanan Tobe, James Govan, Lindsey Welch

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

    Abstract

    Poaching is a worldwide crime that can be difficult to investigate due to the nature of the evidence. Previous studies have focused on the identification of endangered species in cases of poaching. Difficulties arise if the poached animal is not endangered. In the UK deer have hunting seasons whereby they can legally be hunted. Therefore, identification of deer alone has little probative value as samples could have originated from legal hunting activities in season. After a deer is hunted it is usual to remove the innards, head and lower limbs. The limbs are removed through manual force and represent a potential source of human 'touch DNA'. We investigate the potential to recover and profile human autosomal DNA from poached deer remains. Samples from the legs of ten culled deer were obtained (40 in total) using minitapes. DNA from samples was extracted, quantified and amplified to determine if it would be possible to recover human STR profiles. Low quantification data led to the use of an extended PCR cycling protocol of 34 cycles. Samples from five deer gave match probabilities of varying quality. This study demonstrates the recovery of human touch DNA from poached animal remains. This is the first time that human STR profiling has been successfully applied to touch DNA in regards to wildlife crime.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pagese265-e266
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
    Event24th International Congress of the International Society for Forensic Genetics -
    Duration: 30 Aug 2011 → …

    Conference

    Conference24th International Congress of the International Society for Forensic Genetics
    Period30/08/11 → …

    Keywords

    • Deer
    • LCN
    • Poaching
    • STR profiling
    • Touch DNA

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