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Short Communicatoin

The Use of DNA Barcoding to Identify Feathers from Illegally Traded Birds

Carlos Benigno Vieira de Carvalho Carlos Benigno Vieira de Carvalho


Issue 2  -  Number 4

Received 20/12/2013; Published Online 20/12/2013


Language Inglês

Article's Classification: Comunicação breve



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Abstract The illegal trade of animals threatens the survival of wild populations, including birds, one of the most targeted groups. Brazilian native birds are protected by the current legislation, and their illegal trade is a crime that can be punished with imprisonment. However, in some cases, it is not easy to identify seized specimens, making the characterization of the crime difficult and so the punishment of the offenders. When morphological identification is compromised, genetic identification can be used to associate unknown samples to a reference sample by comparing sequences of mitochondrial genes. In this study I used a 650 bp region from the subunit I of cytochrome c oxidase gene (COI) associated with the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD) to identify five feathers seized by the Brazilian Federal Police in 2012. The DNA Laboratory of the Brazilian Federal Police was able to match four of the five feathers to the species Triclaria malachitacea, the Blue-bellied Parrot, a member of the family Psittacidae. The results support the idea that members of this group are preferred targets for the illegal trade of wild birds and proved that DNA barcoding is a valuable tool for forensic casework.

Keywords DNA barcoding; Identification; birds; Feathers; Psittacidae




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