Identification of Indian Crocodile Species Through DNA Barcodes*


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Abstract

The biodiversity of India includes three crocodile species, Crocodylus palustris, Crocodylus porosus, and Gavialis gangeticus, whose status is threatened due to bushmeat crisis and illegal hunting. The crocodilian conservation management requires novel techniques to help forensic analysts to reveal species identity. DNA barcoding is a species identification technique, where a partial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene is used as a marker for species identification. Herein, the DNA barcoding technique is evaluated for three Indian crocodiles by analyzing an approximately 750-bp barcode region. The alignment result shows interspecific variations between sequences for discrimination of the three Indian crocodiles leading to species identification. The phylogenetic analyses also substantiate the established crocodilian relationships, which add further advantage to use this DNA barcoding approach for Indian crocodiles. This study provides preliminary evidences for the use of DNA barcoding technique in the identification of Indian crocodile species.

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