Battling rhino poachers with DNA evidence

| | January 10, 2018
rhino
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

In murder investigations, DNA evidence often helps to link a perpetrator to a crime scene and put him or her behind bars. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on January 8 show that DNA evidence is also successfully being used to link rhinoceros horns seized from poachers and traffickers in various countries directly to the specific crime scenes where rhinoceros carcasses were left behind.

Their Rhino DNA Index System (RhODIS®) includes a chain-of-custody-compliant biosampling kit and sampling methodology. It has already been used in more than 5,800 forensic cases with links made between recovered horns, blood-stained evidence items, and specific rhinoceros carcasses in more than 120 cases.

The report highlights nine cases in which DNA matches were made and that evidence was used for the prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of perpetrators of rhinoceros crimes. One case involving three horns and tissues from two carcasses led to a sentence of 29 years.

These cases now show that forensic data resources for wildlife species that are under severe threat from illegal hunting and trafficking can be applied successfully across borders to assist in the investigation and ultimate conviction of wildlife criminals. The hope is that the increasing risk of conviction and stiff sentencing will play an important role in decreasing incentives to deal in illegal wildlife products.

[Editor’s note: Read full study]

Read full, original post: DNA evidence is putting rhino poachers behind bars, study shows

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
sperm swim

Video: Sperm are ‘spinners not swimmers’—because they are lopsided

Research by fertility scientists in the UK and Mexico challenges the accepted view of how sperm “swim”, suggesting that it ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend