Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 2757–2762 | Cite as

DNA sequence analysis to guide the release of blue-and-yellow macaws (Ara ararauna, Psittaciformes, Aves) from the illegal trade back into the wild

  • Gislaine A. Fernandes
  • Renato Caparroz


The illegal wildlife trade is one of the major threats to Brazil’s biodiversity. Approximately 80 % of illegally captured animals are birds, and 4 % of those are parrots. Although many seized birds do not survive, those that are recovered may be returned to the wild. The release of seized individuals into the wild should be conducted with caution, as local populations may suffer adverse effects if genetically different individuals are introduced. In this study, we evaluated the genetic relationships between 13 illegally captured blue-and-yellow macaws selected for release in northeastern Goiás, Brazil, and previously studied Brazilian macaw populations. We identified the seized macaws that were genetically similar to those from northwestern Goiás and that were therefore most suitable for release in that area. The genetic relationship was evaluated by sequence analysis of 403 bp of mitochondrial DNA control region. Relationships between mitochondrial haplotypes were computed via a median-joining network. Only six of the seized macaws were closely related to the macaws of northeastern Goiás, indicating that those macaws were potential candidates for release in that area. However, the release of these birds should follow all technical recommendations required by the Brazilian environmental authorities.


Ara ararauna Conservation Illegal trade Macaw Mitochondrial DNA Parrot 



The authors are very grateful to Eduardo Barros for technical assistance in bird sampling, Dr. Cristina Y. Miyaki for providing primers and samples, Dr. Mariana Pires de Campos Telles and Leo Caetano da Silva for technical support and suggestions, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments. This study was supported by Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa do Estado de Goiás/FAPEG–PRONEX chamada 07/2009.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Genética e Biodiversidade, Departamento de Biologia GeralInstituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de GoiásGoiâniaBrazil
  2. 2.Faculdade UnB Planaltina, Universidade de BrasíliaPlanaltinaBrazil

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