Weathered antlers as a source of DNA

Roy G. Lopez, Paul Beier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We tested antlers of Coues white-tailed (Odocoileus virginianus couesi) and mule deer (O. hemionus) in various stages of natural decomposition to determine the degree of weathering that cast antlers could endure and still yield usable DNA. Based on physical characteristics, we partitioned antlers into 7 weathering categories ranging from freshly cast (class 1) to having been exposed to weathering for ≤8 years (class 7). Most antlers that had weathered 1-7 years yielded amplifiable DNA, whereas antlers weathered for ≤8 years failed to yield replicable DNA. This study confirms that antlers exposed to weathering for 1-7 years can be a source of replicable DNA and, thus, contribute an additional, and previously overlooked, noninvasive sample for analysis in molecular genetics studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-382
Number of pages3
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Antlers
  • Coues white-tailed deer
  • DNA
  • Mule deer
  • Odocoileus hemionus
  • Odocoileus virginianus couesi
  • Southwestern United States
  • Weathering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


Dive into the research topics of 'Weathered antlers as a source of DNA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this