A multiplex PCR assay to distinguish among three sympatric marsupial taxa from Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea, using the mitochondrial control region

Authors

  • T. J. McGREEVY JR,

    1. Department of Natural Resources Science, Coastal Institute, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA
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  • L. DABEK,

    1. Department of Natural Resources Science, Coastal Institute, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA
    2. Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, Department of Conservation, Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
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  • T. P. HUSBAND

    1. Department of Natural Resources Science, Coastal Institute, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA
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Thomas J. McGreevy Jr., Fax: +1 401 874 4561; E-mail: tjmcg@mail.uri.edu

Abstract

Matschie’s tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) is an endangered arboreal macropodid marsupial that is difficult to locate in the wild. The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program noninvasively collected D. matschiei faecal samples, but a high percentage of samples were misidentified and belonged to two terrestrial macropods, New Guinea pademelon (Thylogale browni) and small dorcopsis (Dorcopsulus vanheurni). We developed species-specific primers that produced a unique sized mitochondrial DNA control region gene product for each taxon and achieved an 89% correct assignment rate. The species-specific primers can increase the accuracy of D. matschiei density estimates and facilitate additional genetic analyses of wild D. matschiei.

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