Conservation Genetics Resources

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 41–44 | Cite as

Testing mitochondrial markers for noninvasive genetic species identification in European mammals

  • Carsten NowakEmail author
  • Marc Büntjen
  • Katharina Steyer
  • Christiane Frosch
Technical Note


While DNA-barcoding routines have largely facilitated molecular identification of animal species, there is no common strategy for species identifications based on noninvasively collected samples. We compared the performance of six commonly used mitochondrial fragments for identification success of low-quality hair and scat samples from 15 European mammals. The standard cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 barcoding fragment performed worst in the test, with only three successful species identifications out of 32 samples. In contrast, three short fragments (16S and 12S rDNA, cytochrome b) led to reliable species identifications for >80 % of all tested samples. Success rates also differed among feeding types.


Noninvasive sampling Species discrimination Mammalia Genetic monitoring Wildlife forensics 



Several wildlife parks provided kind sampling assistance. Sequence reaction were performed in the BiK-F Laboratory Centre, Frankfurt. This project was funded by the Leibniz-Association in the context of the “Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation” (SAW-Pakt).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carsten Nowak
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marc Büntjen
    • 1
  • Katharina Steyer
    • 1
  • Christiane Frosch
    • 1
  1. 1.Conservation Genetics GroupSenckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum FrankfurtGelnhausenGermany
  2. 2.Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F)Frankfurt am MainGermany

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