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Development of microsatellite markers for censoring endangered rhinos

Sumatran rhinos can be found in the Sumatran rhino sanctuary in Wei Kambas National Park, Indonesia. Credit: Bertha Letizia

Today, the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is endangered, with less than 100 surviving individuals on Indonesia’s Sumatra and Borneo islands. Accurate censorship is required to determine the genetic diversity of the remaining populations for conservation and management planning to ensure the survival of endangered species.


New study reported in BMC research notes We characterized 29 novel polymorphic microsatellite markers (repeated DNA sequences) that acted as a reliable censorship method for wild Sumatran rhinos. The study was a collaborative effort involving the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the Akeman Institute for Molecular Biology in Indonesia, Queen’s University in Canada, and the San Diego Zoo.

“It’s hard to blame this species because it’s not very large and very confusing,” said Jessica Brandt, a former PhD. A student in the Roca laboratory who led the research. “We were looking for a way to do it without dealing with species. This was a joint effort between a group of people interested in tackling these endangered species and contributing to their management. . “

Sumatran rhinos live in dense rainforests that are difficult to pass through, making it difficult to track Sumatran rhino populations. Researchers relied on fecal DNA collected from Sumatran rhino fecal samples and required little interaction with wild individuals. Although fecal sampling has many advantages, fecal DNA can be degraded, making it difficult to determine the age of the sample. To overcome these challenges, researchers have designed optimized microsatellite markers that are short and easy to amplify from fecal samples.

“Microsatellite markers are found in non-coding regions and therefore evolve very rapidly,” says Brandt. “It’s very useful in populations that want to identify individuals because they see more mutations in certain markers than when using genes that encode proteins.”

“During DNA replication, these markers can scale very easily like a genomic accordion,” said Karl R. Wars, a professor of animal science at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, who is also a member of the Institute for Genome Biology. Alfred Roca said. “Microsatellite evolves so rapidly and is so diverse within the species that we can distinguish animals by looking closely at these markers. These markers cover a very diverse region of the cygenome. Ideal for targeting. “

Researchers used high-quality DNA sequences from captive Sumatran rhinos to identify 29 polymorphic candidate loci for further optimization. To test its usefulness for censorship, 13 of 29 markers were randomly tested on fecal samples collected from wild Sumatran rhinos. Researchers were able to amplify 9 markers from 11 wild fecal samples.

“The combination of these markers provided better statistical power to identify Sumatran rhino individuals and was very well amplified when tested using non-invasive samples,” said Indonesia. Sinta Saidah, co-author and research assistant at the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, said. “We hope that these markers can be used in more samples collected in the field to provide population data for the entire island of Sumatran rhino, thereby devising a better conservation strategy for this endangered species. Helps to do. “

“To make a conservation plan, we need to know who is there and what their current level of diversity is,” Brandt said. “Our markers allow Indonesian authorities to determine not only the number of rhinos that can be counted, but whether they are related. Ultimately, another goal is other endangered species. To extend this study to include the species rhino. ”


Genome sequencing brings hope and warning to Sumatran rhino survival


For more information:
Jessica R. Brandt et al, characterization of 29 polymorphic microsatellite markers developed by genomic screening of Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), BMC research notes (2021). DOI: 10.1186 / s13104-021-05522-x

Courtesy of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Quote: Development of microsatellite markers for censoring endangered species (May 4, 2021) May 4, 2021 https://phys.org/news/2021-05-microsatellite-markers Obtained from -censusing-endangered-rhinoceros.html

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Development of microsatellite markers for censoring endangered rhinos

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