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DNA identifies presence of smuggled pangolins

The illegal trade of pangolin scales is a huge trade estimated to be worth as much as US$50 billion each year. The scales, removed from dead animals, are used in traditional medicines. Such practices have scant scientific backing. The trade has led to the near extinction of pangolins in Asia. Some populations remain in Africa. Similar pressures are present for rhinos for their horns and ivory. Adrian Linacre is applying techniques used in crime scene work to trace smuggled wildlife. He describes a new technique which detects DNA on bags used for carrying pangolin.

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