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Keywords:

  • Lutra ;
  • noninvasive;
  • otter;
  • real-time PCR;
  • spraint

Abstract

Developing strategies to maintain biodiversity requires baseline information on the current status of each individual species. The development of genetic techniques and their application to noninvasively collected samples have the potential to yield information on the structure of elusive animal populations and so are important tools in conservation management. Using DNA isolated from faecal samples can be challenging owing to low quantity and quality. This study, however, presents the development of novel real-time polymerase chain reaction assays using fluorescently labelled TaqMan® MGB probes enabling species and sex identification of Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) spraints (faeces). These assays can also be used in determining an optimum microsatellite panel and can be employed as cost-saving screening tools for downstream genetic testing including microsatellite genotyping and haplotype analysis. The techniques are shown to work efficiently with Llutra DNA isolated from tissue, hair, spraint, blood and anal jelly samples.