About the Genetics Services Unit (GSU)

The Genetics Services Unit (GSU) of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) was established in April 2020 as a dedicated facility for optimal service delivery to clients.

Workflows for genetics services adheres to international standards and are updated regularly to ensure all services are delivered in an effective, predictable, reliable and customer-friendly manner.


  1. Provides high quality molecular genetic services to promote conservation, management of populations, enforcement of legislation and compliance that include legal and illegal wildlife trade. Clients include conservation agencies, law enforcement agencies, national government, wildlife/private game owners and breeders, the meat industry, other.
  2. Supports the conservation of endangered species: through contributions to National Biodiversity Management Plans of species.
  3. The monitoring of genetic health and purity of individuals and populations.

Services rendered by the Genetics Services Unit

The GSU offers a wide range of molecular genetic services that include:

  1. Molecular DNA services:
  • Species identification (DNA barcoding)
  • DNA profiling for individual identification
  • Parentage verification (mammals, birds, reptiles, antelope)
  • Hybridisation determination (e.g., bontebok/blesbok, Roan antelope, Cape Mountain/ Burchell’s/Hartman zebra, African wildcat/domestic cat, blue/black wildebeest)
  • Gender determination (birds, mammals)
  • Chytrid fungus determination
  1. Support services
  • Issue of DNA passports to comply with legal wildlife trade
  • Supply of species-specific sampling kits
  • Evidence-based protocols
  • Database entries into national genetic databases

Requests for services

Please contact us at dnaservices@sanbi.org.za or +27 012 339-2700/ for sample submission, minimum requirements, or any related queries. Information for sample submission can be obtained from the Sample Submission form attached.

Please use the links below to access important information:

Permitting requirements

SANBI is a registered scientific institution authorised to perform the restricted activities applicable to the Threatened or Protected Species Regulations (TOPS) and must adhere to the permit conditions as per its TOPS Standing permit.

Please contact us to ensure the correct permits are submitted with samples/specimens, if required.

Scroll to top