Genetic markers developed to census endangered rhinoceros
Sumatran rhino
A Sumatran rhino is seen at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park in Indonesia
May 5, 2021

URBANA, Ill. -- Today, the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is critically endangered, with fewer than 100 individuals surviving in Indonesia on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. To ensure survival of the threatened species, accurate censusing is necessary to determine the genetic diversity of remaining populations for conservation and management plans. 

A new study reported in BMC Research Notes characterized 29 novel polymorphic microsatellite markers — repetitive DNA sequences — that serve as a reliable censusing method for wild Sumatran rhinos. The study was a collaborative effort involving animal scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Indonesia, Queen’s University in Canada, and the San Diego Zoo.

Read more from the Institute for Genomic Biology.