Noninvasive genome sampling in chimpanzees


Michael H. Kohn, Fax: +1 713 348 5232; E-mail:


The inevitable has happened: genomic technologies have been added to our noninvasive genetic sampling repertoire. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Perry et al. (2010) demonstrate how DNA extraction from chimpanzee faeces, followed by a series of steps to enrich for target loci, can be coupled with next-generation sequencing. These authors collected sequence and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data at more than 600 genomic loci (chromosome 21 and the X) and the complete mitochondrial DNA. By design, each locus was ‘deep sequenced’ to enable SNP identification. To demonstrate the reliability of their data, the work included samples from six captive chimps, which allowed for a comparison between presumably genuine SNPs obtained from blood and potentially flawed SNPs deduced from faeces. Thus, with this method, anyone with the resources, skills and ambition to do genome sequencing of wild, elusive, or protected mammals can enjoy all of the benefits of noninvasive sampling.