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Genotyping faeces of red pandas (Ailurus fulgens): implications for population estimation

Guo, Yu, Hu, Yibo, Qi, Dunwu, Zhan, Xiangjiang, Bruford, Michael W. ORCID: and Wei, Fuwen 2011. Genotyping faeces of red pandas (Ailurus fulgens): implications for population estimation. European Journal of Wildlife Research 57 (6) , pp. 1231-1235. 10.1007/s10344-011-0556-4

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The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is an endangered species distributed in the Himalaya and Hengduan Mountains and extremely difficult to monitor because it is elusive, wary and nocturnal. However, recent advances in noninvasive genetics are allowing conservationists to indirectly estimate population size of this animal. Here, we present a pilot study of individual identification of wild red pandas using DNA extracted from faeces. A chain of optimal steps in noninvasive studies were used to maximize genotyping success and minimize error rate across sampling, selection of microsatellite loci, DNA extraction and amplification and data checking. As a result, 18 individual red pandas were identified successfully from 33 faecal samples collected in the field using nine red panda-specific microsatellite loci with a low probability of identity of 1.249 × 10−3 for full siblings. Multiple methods of tracking genotyping error showed that the faecal genetic profiles possessed very few genotyping errors, with an overall error rate of 1.12 × 10−5. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility and reliability of using faeces as an effective source of DNA for estimating and monitoring wild red panda populations.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Faeces ; Microsatellite ; Noninvasive genetic sampling ; Population estimation ; Red panda
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1612-4642
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 08:40

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