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Tiger species identification based on molecular approach

Kitpipit, Thitika and Linacre, Adrian and Tobe, Shanan S. (2009) Tiger species identification based on molecular approach. Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series, 2 (1). pp. 310-312. ISSN 1875-1768

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The trade in samples of tiger (Panthera tigris), or parts derived from tiger, is controlled through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which lists all subspecies as protected at the highest level. Tiger has been used as a component in traditional medicines for centuries, often as powder thus making its presence difficult to identify. It is therefore necessary to use a molecular approach for the unambiguous identification of the species. Some countries require knowledge of the exact subspecies present in order to prosecute anyone alleged to trade in tiger products. To this end, mitochondrial DNA from two individuals of four of the five subspecies of tiger were sequenced to determine if subspecies-specific variation could be identified that could be the basis for a molecular test. We report on the determination of a total of 7891 bp of the tiger mitochondrial genome spanning 16S rRNA through ND4.