DNA-Based Individual and Sex Identification from Wolverine (Gulo Gulo) Faeces and Urine
- Cite this article as:
- Hedmark, E., Flagstad, Ø., Segerström, P. et al. Conserv Genet (2004) 5: 405. doi:10.1023/B:COGE.0000031224.88778.f5
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Non-invasive genetic analyses are important for studies of species that are rare, sensitive or at risk of extinction. This study investigates the possibility of using faeces and urine to obtain microsatellite genotypes for individual identification of wolverines (Gulo gulo). The reliability of the employed method was assessed by analysing independent amplifications of non-invasive samples (a multiple-tube approach) and by comparing genotypes obtained from faeces to genotypes obtained from blood or tissue of the same individual. Ten microsatellite markers were successfully amplified in 65% of the faecal samples (n = 32) and 40% of the urine samples (n = 22). Allelic dropout was found in 12 and 14% of the amplifications from extracts of faeces and urine, respectively. Nevertheless, all multi-locus genotypes were correct, as judged from comparison to data from tissue or blood samples, after three replicates. These results suggest that a non-invasive approach based on DNA-analysis of faeces can be a powerful tool in population monitoring of wolverines, potentially providing reliable estimates of population size and immigration rate. A second objective of the study was to develop markers for DNA-based sex identification in wolverines using non-invasive samples. We developed two Y-linked markers, one that was specific to wolverine and one that also successfully identified sex in another mustelid. Importantly, none of the markers amplified potential prey species such as reindeer or rodents.