Date of Submission

3-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forensic Science

Department

Forensic Science

First Advisor

David San Pietro

Second Advisor

Christopher O'Brien

Third Advisor

Mary Burnham-Curtis

Fourth Advisor

Brian Hamlin

LCSH

Wildlife crime investigation, Odocoileus, Mule deer, White-tailed deer

Abstract

Odocoileus is a genus of Cervidae (deer) consisting of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus, Zimmerman, 1780), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus, Rafinesque, 1817) and blacktailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus, Rafinesque, 1817). Hunting Odocoileus is only legal with proper permits according to laws that dictate when, where, how, and what can be hunted. Anything outside the legal limits is considered to be poaching. A useful tool for investigating poaching cases is Short Tandem Repeat (STR) DNA analysis. This is commonly used in human forensic casework to link DNA evidence found at crime scenes to either victims or suspects. In poaching cases, it can be used to link DNA from a deer carcass to DNA from a deer product in a poacher’s possession.

Currently, each wildlife crime lab uses their own STR multiplex for this, unlike in human DNA forensic analysis where there is a standardized commercially available STR multiplex for use by the labs. Without a standardized STR multiplex, this means that it is not possible to have a database to search DNA profiles from other labs’ cases. This means that potential links between cases might remain unknown. To address this, there is a collaborative effort going on to develop a STR multiplex to be used by wildlife crime labs (Odoplex). In addition to the STR multiplex, a reference allelic ladder is needed to make sure that alleles are being called consistently between labs. The objective of this thesis research was to develop a reference allelic ladder for this Odocoileus STR multiplex, “Odoplex”.

Comments

Erin Meredith also served on this student's advisory committee.

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