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Unlocking the potential of a validated single nucleotide polymorphism array for genomic monitoring of trade in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)

Magliolo, Michelle, Prost, Stefan, Orozco Ter Wengel, Pablo ORCID:, Kropff, Anna S., Kotze, Antoinette, Groblem, J. Paul and Dalton, Desiree Lee 2021. Unlocking the potential of a validated single nucleotide polymorphism array for genomic monitoring of trade in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Molecular Biology Reports 48 , pp. 171-181. 10.1007/s11033-020-06030-0

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Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. Threats include loss of habitat, human-wildlife conflict and illegal wildlife trade. In South Africa, the export of wild cheetah is a restricted activity under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), however, limited legal trade is permitted of animals born to captive parents. To effectively monitor the legal and illegal trade in South Africa, it was thus essential to develop a validated molecular test. Here, we designed a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array for cheetah from Double Digest Restriction Associated DNA sequencing data for individual identification and parentage testing. In order to validate the array, unrelated individuals and 16 family groups consisting of both parents and one to three offspring were genotyped using the Applied Biosystems™ QuantStudio™ 12K Flex Real-Time PCR System. In addition, parentage assignments were compared to microsatellite data. Cross-species amplification was tested in various felids and cheetah sub-species in order to determine the utility of the SNP array in other species. We obtained successful genotyping results for 218 SNPs in cheetah (A. j. jubatus) with an optimal DNA input concentration ranging from 10 to 30 ng/µl. The combination of SNPs had a higher resolving power for individual identification compared to microsatellites and provided high assignment accuracy in known pedigrees. Cross-species amplification in other felids was determined to be limited. However, the SNP array demonstrated a clear genetic discrimination of two cheetah subspecies tested here. We conclude that the described SNP array is suitable for accurate parentage assignment and provides an important traceability tool for forensic investigations of cheetah trade.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 0301-4851
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 November 2020
Date of Acceptance: 23 November 2020
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 21:37

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