Ooty: The Department of Zoology and Wildlife Biology (DZWB) at the Government Arts College here has taken up the second phase of research to establish DNA profile (genetic signature) of individual tigers at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR).
The researchers’ team includes Dr J.Ebinazar, head of the DZWB and Dr R.Sanil, associate professor, Dr Mohana Krishnan and Dr B.Ramakrishnan, assistant professors at DZWB along with other student research scholars and they have so far established the genetic signature of 31 individual tigers in MTR.
Talking to DC on the eve of the International Tiger Day, Dr Ramakrishnan, the Principal Investigator in the project related to DNA coding of tigers, said that this project is being undertaken in tie-up with the MTR administration with funding from the Forest department.
“In the first phase which began about three years ago, the researchers collected scat samples from across the MTR and standardized the methods using chemicals and primers. The mitochondrial DNA in the samples was targeted using modern technology for identification of the DNA profile. It is a non-invasive technology to know the genetic signature of individual tigers living in the MTR jungles, which would also helpful in counting the tigers as well as keeping track of them,” he noted.
“The DNA profile of two tigers cannot be identical. Through this method the DNA profile of each individual tiger will be established. In the initial stages we could standardize the technology to differentiate between DNA of tiger and panther and proceeded further with the tiger positive scans. About a year ago we established the DNA code of 29 tigers and after reverification now we have established the DNA code of 31 tigers,” he said....