Application of DNA and protein technology in animal forensics
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Mapholi, N., Harris, E.J. and Kotze, A. 2006. Application of DNA and protein technology in animal forensics. In: Rege, J.E.O.; Nyamu, A.M.; Sendalo, D. (eds.). 2006. The role of biotechnology in animal agriculture to address poverty in Africa: Opportunities and challenges. Proceedings of the 4th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture and the 31st annual meeting of Tanzania Society for Animal Production, Arusha, Tanzania, 20–24 September 2005. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: TSAP and Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.
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In South Africa, the increasing incidence of stock theft and poaching, with the accompanying cruelty to animals, affects all sectors of the livestock farming, including the large commercial farmers, stud breeders and the smallholder rural farmers who may own one or two cattle. Animal forensics, which includes DNA and protein technologies, can provide a useful tool for identifying stolen animals. Protein and DNA based methods can be used to establish the identity, ownership, parentage and traceablitiy or origin of the species of individual animals, using samples of blood meat, hair and other tissues collected from crime scenes. DNA microsatellite marker sets are used to obtain DNA profiles. The PCR procedure provides for the analysis of minute quantities of DNA. The analysis of protein profiles provides a simple but powerful means for animal and species identification. The paper discusses cases where animal forensic techniques have led to successful convictions.