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An integrated and validated DNA-based protocol developed to fight against commercial frauds – A case of fraudulent substitutions for deer products

W.M. Sin
  • Government Laboratory, Ho Man Tin Government Offices, 88 Chung Hau Street, Kowloon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
/ Y.K. Tam
  • Government Laboratory, Ho Man Tin Government Offices, 88 Chung Hau Street, Kowloon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
/ SK Tsui
  • Government Laboratory, Ho Man Tin Government Offices, 88 Chung Hau Street, Kowloon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
/ CS Ng
  • Government Laboratory, Ho Man Tin Government Offices, 88 Chung Hau Street, Kowloon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
/ CS Mok
  • Government Laboratory, Ho Man Tin Government Offices, 88 Chung Hau Street, Kowloon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
/ WY Ha
  • Government Laboratory, Ho Man Tin Government Offices, 88 Chung Hau Street, Kowloon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
  • Email:
Published Online: 2013-02-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/dna-2013-0001


Applying molecular techniques for identification of natural products of trade have proved to be a robust tool to resolve species or populationlevel differences for cases where reliance on morphological characteristics is impractical or impossible. An integrated DNA approach was designed for authentication of deer products. A combination of two specific PCR systems targeting respectively the deer cytochrome b (cytb) and 16S ribosomal RNA (16SrRNA) gene was adopted to authenticate samples of deer in origin. For those samples that were found not to be deer, their identities were then confirmed by DNA barcoding of cytochrome c oxidase I (COI). The advantage of using this approach is that screening for the presence of the target species, i.e. deer, can be done in an efficient manner while the identity of those products screened out to be fake are conclusively revealed. The method is first validated using different parts and products of deer, namely the velvet antler, ossified antler, tendon and also deer glue which is highly processed. The developed protocol was then applied to a forensic case that involved the substitution of deer tendon by cattle or water buffalo tendon.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: Deer products; Wildlife forensic; Iintegrated DNA approach; Deer specific PCR analysis; DNA barcode

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About the article

Received: 2012-08-27

Accepted: 2012-11-22

Published Online: 2013-02-14

Citation Information: DNA Barcodes, ISSN (Online) 2299-1077, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/dna-2013-0001. Export Citation

©2013 Versita Sp. z o.o.. This content is open access.

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