Non-invasive genetic sampling in wildlife research

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Genetic analysis is being used in wildlife research to estimate species abundance, effective population size, hybridization, to detect pathogens, and for other applications. Traditionally, DNA samples for genetic analysis have been obtained from blood or tissue samples, either through invasive or lethal means.[1] Since the early 1990s, researchers have started implementing non-invasive DNA sampling methods (sensu lato), meaning not penetrating the skin barrier[2], for example by using faeces or hair.[3]

Non-invasive genetic sampling might be more cost-effective and – depending on the method – can require less time effort than both invasive genetic sampling and other wildlife research methods.[4] A disadvantage of non-invasively obtained samples is that they often contain lower quality and quantity of DNA in comparison with tissue samples. This issue can be, nevertheless, overcome with optimized protocols and specialized extraction kits.[5][6][7]

Examples of non-invasive genetic sampling application in wildlife research

DNA material Example study Species
Non-invasive methods requiring capture or contact with the animal Buccal swab Gallardo et al. 2012[8] Amphibian
Handel et al. 2006[9] Bird
Reid et al. 2012[10] Fish
Cloacal swab Wang et al. 2008[11] Bird
Mucci et al. 2014[12] Reptile
Skin swab Pichlmuller et al. 2013[13] Amphibian
Player et al. 2017[14] Bat
Taslima et al. 2017[15] Fish
Régnier et al. 2011[16] Mollusc
Non-invasive methods not requiring capture Breath sample Pirotta et al. 2017[17] Cetacean
Egg shell Maia et al. 2017[18] Bird
Hu and Wu 2008[19] Reptile
Exuviae Petersen et al. 2007[20] Arachnid
Ozana et al. 2020[21] Insect
Faeces Boston et al. 2012[22] Bat
Dai et al. 2015 [23] Bird
Rutledge et al. 2009[24] Carnivore
Hunt et al. 2006[25] Cetacean
Fernando et al. 2003 [26] Elephant
Scriven et al. 2013[27] Insect
Zemanova and Ramp 2021[28] Marsupial
Perry et al. 2010[29] Primate
Mitelberg et al. 2019[30] Reptile
Ferreira et al. 2018[31] Rodent
Powell et al. 2019[32] Ungulate
Saliva left on food or twigs Monge et al. 2020[33] Bird
Stewart et al. 2018[34] Primate
Shed antlers Lopez and Beier 2012[35] Ungulate
Shed feathers Olah et al. 2016[36] Bird
Shed hair Khan et al. 2020[37] Carnivore
Henry et al. 2011[38] Lagomorph
Shed skin Swanson et al. 2006[39] Carnivore
Horreo et al. 2015[40] Reptile
Spider web Blake et al. 2016[41] Arachnid
Urine Valiere and Taberlet 2000[42] Carnivore
Ozga et al. 2021[43] Primate

This page was created and edited by Miriam A. Zemanova --MZ21917 (talk) 15:41, 18 February 2022 (UTC)


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