2. DNA, Genomes and Genetic Variation

  1. Adrian M. T. Linacre1 and
  2. Shanan S. Tobe2

Published Online: 7 APR 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118496411.ch2

Wildlife DNA Analysis: Applications in Forensic Science

Wildlife DNA Analysis: Applications in Forensic Science

How to Cite

Linacre, A. M. T. and Tobe, S. S. (2013) DNA, Genomes and Genetic Variation, in Wildlife DNA Analysis: Applications in Forensic Science, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118496411.ch2

Author Information

  1. 1

    Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

  2. 2

    University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 7 APR 2013
  2. Published Print: 10 MAY 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470665954

Online ISBN: 9781118496411



  • chromosome;
  • DNA;
  • genetic variation;
  • genome;
  • mutation;
  • wildlife forensic science


The term genome refers to the entire DNA contained within the cell of an organism. DNA is contained within the nucleus of the cell, as discrete bodies called chromosomes, or within the intra cellular bodies of mitochondria and chloroplasts. The DNA can be classified within a genome based on its function, lack of function, or structure. This chapter leads the reader through the basics of DNA, from the structure of the molecule to how variation creates different species that are seen today. Unfortunately molecular biology and genetics is full of terminology specific to the subject area. Every effort is made to explain the science behind DNA typing, how DNA variation between individuals and species occurs, and how this variation can be examined and used to answer questions relevant to wildlife forensic science. Terminology familiar to a molecular geneticist, but few others, is introduced in this chapter.