A DNA-Based Approach for the Forensic Identification of Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus) in a Traditional Asian Medicine

Lindsay Peppin*, Ross McEwing, Gary R. Carvalho, Rob Ogden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Attempts to prevent illegal trade in bile and gallbladders from Asiatic black bears, Ursus thibetanus, are hampered by difficulties associated with identifying such items. We extracted DNA from bile crystals of unknown species origin and generated partial cytochrome b (cyt b) sequences using either universal primers (positioned in conserved regions of cyt b), or primers designed on existing U. thibetanus sequences (UT). Species origin was determined by aligning resolved sequences to reference sequence data. The universal primers were unsuitable for U. thibetanus identification when multiple species templates were present in the samples. The UT primers amplified U. thibetanus DNA from all sample extracts, including those containing mixed species templates. The amplified fragment can distinguish U. thibetanus from the most closely related species, U. americanus, a distinct advantage of DNA sequencing over the methods currently used to analyze suspected U. thibetanus bile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1358-1362
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Volume53
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • forensic science
  • species identification
  • Ursus thibetanus
  • traditional Chinese medicine
  • bear bile
  • gallbladder
  • cytochrome b
  • PHYLOGENETIC-RELATIONSHIPS
  • BILE
  • POPULATIONS
  • DIFFERENTIATION
  • PRODUCTS
  • PRIMERS
  • NUCLEAR
  • URSIDAE
  • ARCTOS

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