Checking wildlife crimes with DNA tests

Times of India Sunil Kumar Verma

TNN | May 1, 2003, 12.44AM IST

HYDERABAD: Committing a crime and getting away with it may soon become a thing of the past. A new process developed by the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) can help identify a multitude of samples in just 32 hours.

All the scientists require is a strand of hair, a piece of bone or any another organic matter from any species.

The technique, being seen as a breakthrough in detecting wildlife crimes, is a first of its kind application of DNA fingerprinting techniques.

CCMB scientists have zeroed in on a DNA strand found in all living organisms and worked out a system which can identify even a minute sample of matter belonging to a particular species of animal or other forms of wildlife.

CCMB director Lalji Singh said that the institute was in the process of creating a DNA data bank of 50,000 species, another first exercise of its kind. The first step towards reaching this goal is collating DNA data of 25,000 species, he said.

The challenge for CCMB scientists – Singh and his colleague S K Verma – was to identify a DNA fragment, which is present in all known species of animals but also contains specie-specific signals in it.

Yet another challenge was to develop a biological tool to decode this signature in a sample of unknown origin, Singh said.

Courtesy: The Times of India

May 1, 2003