Application of DNA markers against illegal logging as a new tool for the Forest Guard Service
Nowakowska, Justyna A.
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DNA markers are currently the most precise tool for forest tree species identification and can be used for comparative analyses of plant material. Molecular diagnosis of evidence and reference material is based on comparing the structure of DNA markers duplicated in the PCR reaction and estimation of the DNA profiles obtained in studied wood samples. For this purpose, the microsatellite DNA markers are the most suitable tool because of their high polymorphism and accurate detection of structural changes in the genome. The analysis of tree stump DNA profiles let avoid timely collection of data such as tree age, diameter, height and thickness, although such a piece of information may advantageous in wood identification process. For each examined tree species, i.e. Pinus sylvestris L., Picea abies (L.) Karst., Quercus robur L. and Q. petraea (Matt.) Liebl., Fagus sylvatica L., Betula pendula L., and Alnus glutinosa L., wood identification was possible via the DNA profiles established on a basis of minimum 4 microsatellite nuclear DNA loci, and at least one cytoplasmatic (mitochondrial or chloroplast) DNA marker. Determination of the DNA profiles provided fast and reliable comparison of genetic similarity between material of evidence (wood, needles, leaves, seeds) and material of reference (tree stumps) in the forest. This was done with high probability (approximately 98– 99%).
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