A highly informative microsatellite panel for individual identification and sex determination of jungle cats (Felis chaus)
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The jungle cat (Felis chaus), a small-sized felid, is distributed across Southeast and South Asia to Egypt in Africa. In India, it is one of the most common small cat species but no reliable methods are available to monitor its population status. We describe a non-invasive genetic monitoring technique using fecal samples for individual identification and sex determination of jungle cats. We evaluated 21 feline microsatellites and optimized a panel of 11 highly polymorphic microsatellite loci that yield a cumulative Probability of Identity between siblings value of 5.51×10−6. We used this panel to identify 110 individuals from 118 jungle cat scats collected from tiger reserves in Central India. We identified 22 males and 35 females by amplifying a fragment of the Amelogenin protein gene. This panel will be helpful to study genetic structure, gene flow, relatedness, sex ratio, and population estimation in jungle cats.
KeywordsNoninvasive DNA sampling Felis chaus Individual identification Microsatellite Sex assignment
Funding was provided by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), Friends of the National Zoo, Kathryn Fuller science for nature fund of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), International Bear Association, and George Mason University. We thank the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Wildlife, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, and field directors and staff of all five tiger reserves (Kanha, Satpura, Melghat, Pench MP and Mh) for providing research permissions and logistical help. We thank Robert Fleischer, Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics, SCBI, and Yogesh S. Shouche, National Center for Cell Sciences (NCCS), Pune, Maharashtra, India, for providing laboratory space and facilitating lab work; Nancy Rotzel, Libby Dougan, and Hitendra Munot for logistical support, and Susan Lumpkin for editorial comments. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for suggestions that greatly improved the quality of this manuscript.
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