NNanopore DNA Sequencing in Forensics: Wildlife Crime and Conservation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Genetics


DNA analysis has become a vital tool for wildlife conservation both through monitoring biodiversity but also by providing evidence in the fight against wildlife crime. The greatest need is within developing countries where the threats to wild populations are most severe but the necessary resources are often lacking, requiring samples to be sent abroad for analysis. This is expensive but also inconvenient, often to the detriment of sample quality, and adding complexity to the chain of custody, which can greatly affect admissibility of DNA evidence in court.

Nanopore sequencing has the potential to free DNA analysis from the specialist laboratory, enabling tests to be performed at an affordable price when and where required. Hand- portable third-generation DNA sequencers such as the MinION developed by the industrial sponsor Oxford Nanopore are intended to make sequencing commonplace by simplifying as much of the process as possible with disposable microfluidic units ultimately performing stages that are currently manually performed.

This studentship will explore the capabilities of nanopore sequencing for capacity building in countries that lack easy access to DNA laboratories. A primary need is to analyse mtDNA, not only the highly conserved barcode genes which allow assignment to taxonomic group, but also the hypervariable DNA regions.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1898608 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 02/10/2017 30/09/2021 Orie Shaw