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Testing of microsatellite markers in closely related raptor species
Németh Dorina Mercédesz - year 3
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Ecology
Supervisors: Nóra Vili, Krisztián Szabó

Abstract:

Nowadays nature conservation plays more and more important role in legislation. The newest Hungarian Government Decree (136/2022. (IV. 7.) Kormányrendelet (a 348/2006. (XII. 23.) Kormányrendelet módosítása) is an outstanding example of this fact. According to this, every bird used in falconry ought to be identified with genetical markers, which means, that falconers must present a certificate to the Hungarian authorities about every bird they own.

In this study our primary goal was to set up a genetical marker set, which can be used for identifying individual birds kept by falconers. By Hungarian laws, the species northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), eurasian sparrowhawk (A. nisus), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), lanner falcon (Falco biarmicus), gyrfalcon (F. rusticolus) and peregrine falcon (F. peregrinus) are allowed to use in falconry, therefore these were the target species in our research. Additionally, with the new set, we can identify genetic lineages and it also enables the survey of the extent of inbreeding in the raptor breeding stocks.

To compile the marker set, we chose microsatellite-markers or STRs (Short Tandem Repeats). In the first stage we have tested altogether 92 markers, from which 34 were Falco sp. specific, 35 were Aquila sp. specific and 23 were Accipiter sp. specific. Every marker was tested on 3-19 samples from the same species. Besides the falconry-allowed species, we tested the markers on additional closely related species occurring in Hungary, for example on saker falcon (F. cherrug), on common kestrel (F. tinnunculus) and on red-footed falcon (F. vespertinus).

We examined the PCR-products with gel electrophoresis, the exact allele-lengths were determined with capillary electrophoresis. During marker selection, we took into consideration the number of identified alleles and their frequencies, as well as the PI-values (Probability of Identity). In addition, we were able to test the ascertainability of lineages, for we had samples from individuals with verified ancestor-descendant relationships.

The final marker sets are including 14 Falco-markers, 11 Aquila-markers and 23 Accipiter-markers. Based on our current data, these markers have sufficiently great resolution for certain identification of individuals.



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