Forensic Science International: Genetics Volume: 6 Issue: 4 Dated: July 2012 Pages: 487-493
This report presents results of a pilot study of a DNA-based method to control the geographical origin of timber in forest concessions in Cameroon.
Illegal logging and associated trade are the cause of many economic and ecological problems both in producer and in consumer countries. There are an increasing number of national and international regulations in place that call for efficient timber tracking systems. This study presents results of a pilot study of a DNA-based method to control the geographical origin of timber in forest concessions in Cameroon. The current study addressed genetic differentiation at five nuclear microsatellite loci in seven sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricum, Meliaceae) populations located in three forest concessions in Eastern Cameroon. In the framework of a blind test, seven anonymous timber sample sets were analyzed at three microsatellite loci and compared to the genetic reference data of the forest concessions in Cameroon. Results show that genetic differentiation was low within and among concessions. Combining the results of Bayesian genetic assignment method and exclusion test, the authors could determine that the timber stemmed or did not stem from the focus forest concession in six out of the seven blind sample sets. The authors further discuss the accuracy of the presented method and draw conclusions for a better sampling and genotyping strategy. This work provides clear evidence that the use of genetic fingerprints is a useful tool to fight against illegal logging. (Published Abstract)