Supported by Central Zoo Authority (CZA), Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India.
CASE REPORT CRIMINALISTICS
Species Identification from Dried Snake Venom*
Article first published online: 23 JAN 2012
© 2012 American Academy of Forensic Sciences
Journal of Forensic Sciences
Volume 57, Issue 3, pages 826–828, May 2012
How to Cite
Singh, C. S., Gaur, A., Sreenivas, A. and Singh, L. (2012), Species Identification from Dried Snake Venom. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 57: 826–828. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.02049.x
These authors contributed equally to this work.
- Issue published online: 19 APR 2012
- Article first published online: 23 JAN 2012
- Received 21 July 2010; and in revised form 27 Dec. 2010; accepted 27 Mar. 2011.
- forensic science;
- wildlife forensics;
- snake venom;
- species identification;
- mitochondrial DNA;
- cytochrome b
Abstract: Illegal trade in snake parts has increased enormously. In spite of strict protection under wildlife act, a large number of snakes are being killed ruthlessly in India for venom and skin. Here, an interesting case involving confiscation of crystallized dried snake venom and subsequent DNA-based species identification is reported. The analysis using the universal primers for cytochrome b region of the mitochondrial DNA revealed that the venom was extracted from an Indian cobra (Naja naja). On the basis of this report, the forwarding authority booked a case in the court of law against the accused for illegal hunting of an endangered venomous snake and smuggling of snake venom. This approach thus has immense potential for rapid identification of snake species facing endangerment because of illegal trade. This is also the first report of DNA isolation from dried snake venom for species identification.