Development of DNA Analysis for Forensic Animal Investigations




Thoms, Kristen

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DNA Analysis has been an important tool for forensic investigations, used to scientifically link an individual to a crime, and provide statistical relevance to the possibility that any other person could have contributed that biological evidence. This analysis has predominantly focused on human biological evidence, but animal-sourced evidence can provide equally compelling information to an investigation. Such analysis could be useful in cases that involve trace transfer of animal hairs (such as from a pet of the perpetrator onto a victim), cases that involve an animal directly (such as a animal cruelty cases), or cases that involve wildlife (such as the trade of endangered animal parts). Studies show that ~50% of US households contain a dog or cat, and that wildlife trade is estimated at $20 billion a year. However, animal DNA evidence has been used in only a small number of courtroom cases. This research seeks to outline the potential, limitations, and necessary development in research and technology to apply DNA analysis to animal evidence.



Wildlife Forensics, DNA Analysis, Animal DNA, Non-Human DNA Markers, Species Identification, Forensic DNA Identification