Amplification of hypervariable simple sequence repeats (microsatellites) from excremental DNA of wild living bonobos (Pan paniscus)


  • The bonobo community in Lomako has been studied by Gottfried Hohmann and Barbara Fruth since 1990, who have also collected the samples. The bench work was done in the laboratory of Diethard Tauk at the Department of Zoology of the University of Munich and is part of several ongoing projects that utilize simple sequenre polymorphisms for the analysis of populations. The fist studies on showing that bonobo faeces are in principle a source for amplifiable DNA markea were done by Komelia Rassmann, Irene Rambold and Diethard Tau& The systematic studies with multiple loci and with samples from the whole community were done by Ulrike Gerloff as part of her Diploma-Thesis under the supervision of Christian Schlotterer.

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We show that nuclear DNA extracted from faeces of free living bonobos (Pan paniscus) can be used to amplify hypervariable simple sequence repeats, which can be used for paternity analysis and kinship studies. Of 130 DNA extractions of samples from 33 different animals, about two-thirds yielded PCR products at the first attempt. For several samples only a second extraction resulted in positive amplifications. Consistency tests revealed that in some cases only one of the two alleles was amplified. Presumably this is due to a very limited amount of bonobo DNA in the sample and we suggest therefore that a sample found to be homozygous at a given locus should be typed repeatedly for verification.