DNA Profiling of Queensland Koalas reveals Sufficient Variability for Individual Identification and Parentage Determination
R. A. Cocciolone and P. TimmsA
Centre for Molecular Biotechnology, School of Life Science, Queensland University of Technology, G.P.O. Box 2434, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia.
ATo whom all correspondence should be addressed
M13 probe was used in combination with the restriction enzymes Msp I and Bam HI to produce DNA profiles of captive and free-range Queensland koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). The Msp I-M13 combination resulted in profiles with an average of 22 clearly resolvable bands in the 1.5-7.6-kb range. When seven koalas (part of a 40-animal free-range population) were analysed, they exhibited 8-29% band polymorphism (average variation of 17%). The Bam HI-MI3 combination produced 28 resolvable bands with an average of 9% band polymorphism. The Msp I-M13 profiling system was also used to successfully determine paternity in two family groups. Of the 66 total bands produced when mother, father and offspring were profiled, 11 were common to all three family members, nine were unique to the mother and four were unique to the father. However, two maternal-specific and eight paternal- specific bands were inherited by the offspring. DNA profiling of koalas (at least of those from Queensland) should prove useful for assessing the degree of inbreeding in captive populations, solving disputed paternity cases in wildlife poaching, determining the social organisation of free-range koalas, identifying individual koalas and studying the genetics of the koala throughout its range.