Forensic Stories, Medico-legal context and Life


The Himalayan Times : Forensic tool to track ivory traders – Detail News : Nepal News Portal
August 25, 2012, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Bones, DNA, Genes

Even though trade in ivory has been banned, the poaching of tuskers continues unabated, threatening African elephants.However, Alfred Roca, assistant professor at the University of Illinois, has found a way to determine where the ivory comes from. He and his team have sampled elephants at 22 locations in 13 African countries to get sequences of their mitochondrial DNA mtDNA.mtDNA is the DNA located in mitochondria, structures within cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form the cells can use. Most DNA is “nuclear”, found in the cell nucleus.What makes mtDNA a good marker for tracing the origin of ivory is first, that it is transmitted only by females and second, the fact that female elephants do not migrate between herds, the journal Evolutionary Applications reports.Roca and collaborators wanted to match these fragments to elephants from a specific location.

via The Himalayan Times : Forensic tool to track ivory traders – Detail News : Nepal News Portal.

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