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DNA Testing for Illegal Ivory Trade

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, has increased trade regulations for endangered species like sharks, and it has also acknowledged the role that DNA testing could play in tracing illegal ivory to its source, Nature reports. The conference of the parties, or COP, said that such testing should be required when large seizures are made. notes that poaching of the African elephant is at its highest level since the ivory trade was banned in 1989. The CITES resolution says that any country that seizes 500 kilograms (about 1100 pounds) or more of ivory must take samples and test them within 90 days, adds.

"I was ecstatic because it was the first time that the entire COP acknowledged the value and need for DNA testing for the origin of poached ivory. All my hard work had finally paid off," Samuel Wasser from the University of Washington and who directs the Center for Conservation Biology tells Nature.