How scientists are using DNA testing to disrupt international ivory smuggling networks

Published by
The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — In recent years, DNA testing has been used to crack cold cases. What if it was used to shed light on international elephant poaching and ivory trafficking? University of Washington researchers are leading an effort to combat these crimes and dismantle the smuggling network. Their work found that genetic testing on elephant ivory tusks can be used to identify tusks from the same individual or its relatives, across dozens of different ivory seizures. “These methods are showing us that a handful of networks are behind a majority of smuggled ivory, and that the connections between these …

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