Developing next-generation sequencing multiplexes for birds of prey: A pilot study for non-human forensics

This studentship will explore the application of NGS-based approaches to individual- and species-level identification in birds of prey (raptors). Theft from the wild for resale to the falconry trade is a lucrative business and DNA testing via classical minisatellite profiling has already led to many court cases in the UK. However, today Forensic Service Providers cannot support such specialised tests. Candidate STRs will be supplemented using recently published whole genomes of the peregrine, saker and bald eagle along with emerging genomes from the 10K Genomes Project to design an NGS-based multiplex. As well as STRs and nuclear SNPs, mtDNA targets for species identification will also be included.

This project is funded by a BBSRC iCASE studentship awarded to Dr Celia May, together with our partner Illumina, and supports Jordan Beasley as a PhD student from October 2016.

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