Internal sensitivity and reproducibility study of UrsaPlex13 kit for identification of American black bears

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Katelyn Caric (Creator)
Hannah Noel (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Maureen Hickman

Abstract: The increasing number of bear attacks on humans each year poses a threat not only to human life but also to bear conservation efforts (Bombieri 2019). To identify individual bears related to wildlife forensic cases, methods need to be validated using SWGDAM guidelines to ensure they uphold legal stringency. This internal validation study will test the sensitivity and reproducibility of the UrsaPlex13 kit developed by Erin Meredith at California Department of Fish and Wildlife to identify 13 different discriminating STR profiles of Ursus americanus, the American black bear (Meredith et al. 2019). The samples used in this study underwent a 1:5 dilution series to test the sensitivity of the assay for different DNA concentrations. A PCR multiplex consisting of ten somatic and three sex markers was used to produce STR profiles of the different sample dilutions. Profiles were assessed in GeneMapper-IDX™ software to see how well the assay performed for different concentrations of DNA. The process described above was replicated four times to verify that the results are reproducible between different runs and analysts. It is expected for the UrsaPlex assay to reproduce the same results after each trial run and have the capability of handling evidentiary samples of varying quantities of genetic material. These results will help further validation of the UrsaPlex kit in Western Carolina University’s Forensic Science laboratory so that it may be used in future wildlife forensic cases involving American black bears. On a global scale, validation studies of such kits can help build comprehensive DNA databases of varying species other than humans which can be used in both legal and conservation efforts.

Additional Information

Poster submitted to the 2020 Research and Scholarship Conference, Western Carolina University.
Language: English
Date: 2020
American black bear, Ursus americanus, animal attacks, forensics

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