Twenty-eight STR loci were screened in wild populations of six bird of prey species providing allele frequencies and population genetic parameters necessary for the application of STRs in wildlife forensic genetic casework. Individual STR loci were validated according to forensic recommendations in specimens of golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), merlin (Falco columbarius), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), gyr falcon (Falco rusticolus) and saker falcon (Falco cherrug). Deviations from Hardy–Weinberg expectations and linkage disequilibrium between locus pairs were examined. The average probability of identity (PIave) and power of exclusion (PE) suggest the profiling systems of golden eagle, goshawk, merlin and peregrine falcons are capable of providing robust and highly discriminatory forensic evidence for legal proceedings. Due to low sample numbers the allele frequency data for gyr and saker falcons is not currently capable of providing an effective probability of identity. Further work should focus on increasing the size of these data sets.
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Published online: August 15, 2008
Accepted: July 1, 2008
Received in revised form: June 6, 2008
Received: April 28, 2008
© 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.