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The use of mitochondrial DNA genes to identify closely related avian species

Boonseub, Sansook and Tobe, Shanan S. and Linacre, Adrian M.T. (2009) The use of mitochondrial DNA genes to identify closely related avian species. Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series, 2 (1). pp. 275-277. ISSN 1875-1768

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Abstract

Species identification using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) loci is a standard method for mammalian species testing. Less is understood about the conservation and variability in the avian mitochondrial genome, yet many exotic bird species are threatened with extinction and are traded illegally. In this study 80 different avian species were chosen from 22 different Orders and their gene sequences for the cytochrome b, cytochrome oxidase I and the ND2 genes were obtained from the NCBI web site. Alignments of the sequence determined the areas of greatest variation and conservation. The alignment result of DNA sequence showed that the cytochrome b gene placed the most number of avian species into their appropriate Orders, ND2 was next closest and COI the poorest of the three loci. These data support the use of cytochrome b over the other two mitochondrial loci for avian species identification.