A novel multiplex PCR assay for the identification of Indian crocodiles


Dr Ikramul Haque, Fax: +91 33 22849442; E-mail: haque_cfslk@yahoo.co.in


Illegal hunting has been a major threat for the survival of wildlife fauna, including the three crocodile species that India harbours: Crocodylus palustris, Crocodylus porosus and Gavialis gangeticus. Although law prevents trade on these species, illicit hunting for trade continues to threaten the survival of these endangered species; conservation strategies therefore require a rapid molecular identification technique for Indian crocodiles. A multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay with species-specific primers, considered as one of the most effective molecular techniques, is described herein. The primers were designed to yield species-specific sized amplicons. The assay discriminates the three Indian crocodile species unambiguously within a short time period using only simple agarose gel electrophoresis. We recommend this multiplex PCR assay to be used in the identification of Indian crocodile species.