Developing Next-Generation Sequencing multiplexes for Birds of Prey: A pilot study for non-human forensics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Genetics


Most forensic activity focuses on human DNA however analysis of animal and plant DNA can also contribute by linking locations, or providing species- or individual-level identification, for example in the context of wildlife- and eco-crime. Since the 1990s, individual-level analyses have been based on length differences at STR loci as ascertained by capillary electrophoresis, whilst traditional Sanger sequencing of mtDNA has determined ancestry and species-level identification. However over the last decade, massively-parallel sequencing (MPS) has revolutionised biology allowing cost-effective characterisation of whole genomes; this holds great promise as the next innovation in forensic analysis too. Illumina has developed a human forensic MPS kit that allows simultaneous testing of multiple autosomal and Y-specific STRs, mtDNA and SNPs. This multi-target approach conserves biological material whilst maximizing discrimination and efficiency. This same approach could be applied to animal and plant forensic evidence allowing both human and non-human tests to be performed using a common platform, bioinformatics pipeline, and ultimately reporting procedure. This studentship will explore the approach as applied to birds of prey (raptors). Illegal poisoning remains a threat to these birds and their theft from the wild for resale to the falconry trade is a lucrative business.


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Cuenca Cambronero M (2018) Evolution of thermal tolerance in multifarious environments. in Molecular ecology

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1791037 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 03/10/2016 31/03/2021 Jordan Beasley