Therion International

DNA Testing for Fish & Wildlife Conservation, Forensics and Management


  • Forensic Sample Matching
  • Species / Subspecies Differentiation
  • Stock Identification
  • Parentage Verification
  • Individual Identification
  • Estimation of Genetic Variation Within Populations
  • Estimation of Genetic Distance Among Populations

The DNA testing services offered by Therion International, LLC can be a valuable tool for Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Data on the genetic parameters within or genetic identity of populations/species are essential when designing programs for the conservation and management of fish and wildlife species. In addition, DNA-based evidence such as DNA profile sample matching or parentage verification is often a critical factor effecting the outcome of forensics cases concerned with illegal hunting activities, animal/meat trafficking and/or lost or stolen animals. Therion offers a full range of DNA-based testing services including DNA profile testing, DNA amplification and DNA sequencing. During the past two decades our laboratory staff has successfully analyzed samples from well over 400 species/strains of animals. Depicted on this fact sheet are examples of results produced from several studies relating to wildlife forensics, population genetics and stock identification.

Wildlife Forensics (Sample Matching)

  • Deer and Bear
BearDeer AutoradiographDeerTherion has provided critical forensic evidence for numerous cases involving alleged illegal hunting of wildlife, illegal sale of meat or animal parts, stolen animals/stock and the fraudulent misidentification of fish/meat species. Two cases involving the illegal hunting of deer and black bear are depicted to the left and right, respectively. In both cases DNA samples collected from meat or tissue found in the suspects’ possession were tested to determine genetic similarity with forensics samples collected at the site of the kill. Note that in each case the DNA profile banding patterns matched across every sample collected by case investigators. Variation in the intensity or clarity of the banding patterns is due to the quality of the DNA obtained from the forensics samples.

Results from a given set of forensics samples can be compared to database sample sets to allow for statistical analysis. In the vast majority of cases for which Therion has provided DNA evidence the courts have stipulated to the final written report. In the few remaining cases, the senior scientific staff of Therion was able to provide successful expert testimony.

Genetic Variation Within/Among Populations

  • Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle AutoradBald EagleIn cooperation with several bald eagle ecology and recovery programs, a bald eagle genetic database was compiled to estimate levels of genetic variation within and among populations. Well over 300 samples were submitted by field scientists studying resident populations throughout North America. DNA profiles were prepared using restriction enzyme Hae III and Therion’s multi-locus probes OPT™-03, OPT-04 and OPT-05.

The figure at right depicts the DNA profiles of two siblings (P1S1, P1S2), another bald eagle from the same population (P1) and a single individual from a different population (P2). The lane labelled MWSS contains molecular weight sizing standards. Note the varying degrees of similarities among the banding patterns. Therion used proprietary computer softwares to calculate band-sharing coefficients and estimate heterozygosity and genetic distance from these data.

Stock Identification

  • Striped Bass
Striped BassStriped Bass AutoradA study was conducted to identify genetic markers that could differentiate among individuals representing two populations of striped bass. The figure to the left shows the DNA profiles of 11 striped bass generated with probe/enzyme combination OPT™-05/Hae III. All individuals from Population 1 display bands in the region above 6.6 kb. None of the individuals from Population 2 have bands in this area, thus the two populations can be genetically distinguished by the presence or absence of bands in the region above 6.6 kb.
Specimen Requirements (please call before shipping any samples)
Specimen Type Volume Container Shipping Instructions
Whole Blood containing:
Nucleated RBC
0.1 - 2 ml EDTA purple top Vacutainer™ Store under refrigeration
Ship blood overnight on ice packs
Non-nucleated RBC 5 - 10 ml
Tissue/Forensic Samples Call for instructions

Download the Adobe Acrobat version of this page (wildlife.pdf).

Therion International, LLC
109 Caroline Street - Saratoga Springs, New York 12866
(518) 584-4300 -- (518) 584-2310 Fax

All graphics and information contained on this site are the property of Therion International.
Copyright © 1996-2005.
Last updated: April 15, 2005. Contact Therion's if you have problems viewing this site.