Verifying the geographic origin of mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King) with DNA-fingerprints

Degen, B.; Ward, S.E.; Lemes, M.R.; Navarro, C.; Cavers, S.; Sebbenn, A.M.. 2013 Verifying the geographic origin of mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King) with DNA-fingerprints. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 7 (1). 55-62.

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Illegal logging is one of the main causes of ongoing worldwide deforestation and needs to be eradicated. The trade in illegal timber and wood products creates market disadvantages for products from sustainable forestry. Although various measures have been established to counter illegal logging and the subsequent trade, there is a lack of practical mechanisms for identifying the origin of timber and wood products. In this study, six nuclear microsatellites were used to generate DNA fingerprints for a genetic reference database characterising the populations of origin of a large set of mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King, Meliaceae) samples. For the database, leaves and/or cambium from 1,971 mahogany trees sampled in 31 stands from Mexico to Bolivia were genotyped. A total of 145 different alleles were found, showing strong genetic differentiation ( =0.52, =0.18, =0.65) and clear correlation between genetic and spatial distances among stands (r=0.82, P<0.05). We used the genetic reference database and Bayesian assignment testing to determine the geographic origins of two sets of mahogany wood samples, based on their multilocus genotypes. In both cases the wood samples were assigned to the correct country of origin. We discuss the overall applicability of this methodology to tropical timber trading.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment > BD - 2.4 - Estimate the impact of the main drivers and pressures on biodiversity ...
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 3 - Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Environment > BD - 3.4 - Provide science-based advice ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISSN: 1872-4973
Additional Keywords: illegal logging, forensic, mahogany, Meliaceae, microsatellite loci, timber tracking, tropical trees
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
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Date made live: 19 Jul 2012 09:56 +0 (UTC)

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