Forensic species identification of large macaws using DNA barcodes and microsatellite profiles
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Using mitochondrial and nuclear markers species identification was conducted in the case of seized feathers. Earlier, we had sequenced cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) both from 10 seized specimens and 43 validation specimens from captive macaws belonging to 4 Ara species (A. macao, A. chloropterus, A. ararauna, and A. ambiguus) and identified 19 haplotypes based on COI sequences. Species-level identification using Barcode of Life Data Systems showed that seized feathers shared the highest similarity with scarlet macaws (A. macao), and this result was supported by the tree-base identification with high bootstrap values. Moreover, microsatellite profiles in AgGT17 locus showed that patterns of allelic distribution in the seized feathers were apparently distinct from those of red-and-green macaw (A. chloropterus), but were overlapped with those of A. macao, suggesting that all of seized feathers were derived from several individuals of A. macao. We also determined the parentage of hybrid macaws by the combination of COI barcodes and microsatellite profiles. The technique presented here will contribute to forensic identification and future conservation of large macaws that have been lost due to deforestation.
KeywordsDNA barcoding Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I Microsatellite Macaw Seizure Forensic species identification
The authors would like to thank the following zoos and aviaries in Japan for assisting us with sample collection: Adventure World, Asa Zoological Park, Companion Animals, Fuji Pet, Izu Animal Kingdom, Izu Shaboten Park, Kakegawa Kacho-en, Kobe Kacho-en, and Loros Bird Farm. Seized feathers were provided by the Aichi Prefectural Police. We also thank Eri Kawaguchi (Kyoto University) for technical support and Kara Gebhardt-Tessman (University of Idaho) for providing information on AgGT17 allele frequency in wild scarlet macaws. This study was supported financially by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) with a Grant-in-aid for Science Research (#21310150 to MI-M) and Global Center of Excellence Program “Formation of a Strategic Base for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Research: from Genome to Ecosystem”.
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