Severe damages to natural vegetation, agriculture, and forestry caused by overpopulation of sika deer (Cervus nippon) have markedly increased in Japan in recent years. To devise a population management plan of sika deer, information on the distribution and population size of the animal in each region is indispensable. An easy and effective method to obtain this information is to count the fecal pellets in the field. However, the habitat of sika deer in Japan overlaps that of Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus). Additionally, it is difficult to discriminate between the feces of both animals. Here, we present a rapid and precise diagnostic method for discriminating between the feces of sika deer and Japanese serow using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) targeting cytochrome b gene in the mitochondrial DNA. Our results showed that the LAMP can discriminate between the feces of sika deer and Japanese serow, and the method is simpler and more sensitive than the conventional molecular diagnostic method. Since LAMP method does not require special skills for molecular biology techniques, even the field researchers who have never done a molecular experiment can easily carry out the protocol. In addition, the entire protocol, from DNA extraction from fecal pellet to identification of species, takes only about 75 min and does not require expensive equipment. Hence, this diagnostic method is simple, fast, and accessible to anyone. As such, the method can be a useful tool to estimate distribution and population size of sika deer.
Mammalian Genome – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 18, 2015
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