Staff Directory

Prof Paul Grobler
Genetics IB 116
051 4013844
Genetics Administration Block A A10

Short CV

Paul Grobler received his BSc, BSc Honours, MSc and PhD degrees at the Rand Afrikaans University between 1987 and 1994. He started his professional career in the Department of Zoology at the University of the North in 1993 and 13 years later took up a position at the UFS. He is the immediate past president of SAWMA (the Southern African Wildlife Management Association) and is an NRF rated researcher (C2). He has research linkages with several local and international researchers and was elected to the adjunct faculty of Virginia Tech University in the USA from 2005. He has acted as referee for a range of accredited journals and is currently Genetics sub-editor for the journals Mammalian Biology (Elsevier) and African Journal of Aquatic Sciences (Taylor & Francis). Nineteen masters and eight doctoral students have completed their studies under his supervision, with another 6 and 8 respectively currently registered. Paul has published 93 papers in peer reviewed journals and has made 39 contributions to international and 46 contributions to national conferences.


Schmitt, C.A., Bergey, C.M., Jasinska, A.J., Ramensky, V., Burt, F., Svardal, H., Jorgensen, M.J., Freimer, N.B., Grobler, J.P and Turner, T.R. 2020. ACE2 and TMPRSS2 variation in savannah monkeys (Chlorocebus spp.): Potential risk for zoonotic/anthroponotic transmission of SARSCoV-2 and a potential model for functional Studies. PLoS ONE, 15(6): e0235106.

Breytenbach, N., Grobler, J.P. and Bindeman, H. 2020. Performance trait analysis and genetic diversity of the SA Boerperd. South African Journal of Animal Sciences, 50(1): 99-108.

Du Toit, Z., Dalton, D.L., Du Plessis, M., Grobler, J.P. and Kotzé, A. 2020. Isolation and characterization of 30 STRs in Temminck’s ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) and potential for cross amplification in other African species. Journal of Genetics, 99(1): 20

Smith, R.M., Kotzé, A., Grobler, J.P. and Dalton, D.L. 2020. Molecular characterization in the toll-like receptor 9 gene of Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra) from three populations. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 78: 1041

Kemp, L.V., Kotze, A., Jansen, R., Dalton, D., Grobler, J.P. and Little, R.M. Review of trial reintroductions of the long-lived, cooperative breeding Southern Ground-hornbill. Bird Conservation International, in press

Coetzer, W.G., Coetzee, L.M., Cason, E.D., Grobler, J.P., Schneider, S.R. and Boucher, C.E. 2020. A Preliminary Assessment of Skin Microbiome Diversity of Zebrafish (Danio rerio): South African Pet Shop Fish. Indian Journal of Microbiology, DOI:10.1007/s12088-020-00900-8.

Zhao, Z., Heideman, N., Grobler, J.P., Bester, P. and Hofmeyr, M.D. 2020. Unraveling the diversification and systematic puzzle of the highly polymorphic Psammobates tentorius (Bell, 1828) complex (Reptilia: Testudinidae) through phylogenetic analyses and species delimitation approaches. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 58(1): 308-326.

Coetzer, W.G. and Grobler, J.P. 2019. Genetic variation among different springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) colour variants. Mammalian Biology, 99: 42-53.

Van Niekerk, M.E., Deacon, F. and Grobler, J.P. 2019. The genetic status of the introduced giraffe population in central South Africa. Koedoe, 61(1): a1570. 

Kotzé, A.,  Smith, R.M.,  Moodley, Y.,  Luikart, G.,  Birss, C.,  Van Wyk, A.M.,  Grobler, J.P. and  Dalton, D.L. 2019. Lessons for conservation management: Monitoring temporal changes in genetic diversity of Cape mountain zebra (Equus zebra zebra). PLoS ONE, 14(7). e0220331.

Van der Westhuizen, L., Magwaba, T., Grobler, J.P., Bindeman, H., Du Plessis, C., Van Marle-Köster, E. & Neser, F.W.C. 2019. Genetic variability in a population of Letelle sheep in South Africa. SA Journal of Animal Science, 2(49): 281-289.

Grobler, J.P., Van Wyk, A.M., Dalton, D.L., Jansen van Vurren, B. and Kotze, A. 2018. Assessing introgressive hybridization between Blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) and Black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou) from South Africa. Conservation Genetics,19: 981–993.

Van Wyk, A.M., Kotze, A., Grobler, J.P., Janse van Vuuren, B., Barrow, L.N. and Dalton, D.  Isolation and characterization of species-specific microsatellite markers for blue- and black wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus and C. gnou). Journal of Genetics, 97(Suppl 1): e101–e109. 

Coetzer, W.G. and Grobler, J.P. Identifying Rhabdomys museum specimens following taxonomic changes: use of short COI sequences. Vertebrate Zoology, accepted and in print.

Coetzer, W.G., Turner, T.R., Schmitt, C.A. and Grobler, J.P. Adaptive genetic variation at three loci in South African vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) and the role of selection within Primates. PeerJ, 6:e4953

Pienaar, L., Grobler, J.P., Scholtz, M.M., Swart, H., Ehlers, K., Marx, M., MacNeil, M.D. and Neser, F.W.C. 2018. Genetic diversity of Afrikaner cattle in southern Africa. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 50:399–404.

Svardal, H., Jasinska, A.J., Apetrei, C., Coppola, G., Huang, Y., Schmitt, C.A., Jacquelin, B., Müller-Trutwin, M.,  Weinstock, G., Grobler, J.P., Wilson, R., Turner, T.R., Warren, W.C., Freimer, N.B. and Nordborg, M. 2017. Ancient hybridization and strong adaptation to viruses across African vervet monkey populations. Nature Genetics, 49(12):1705-1713.

Ahmeda, S., Grobler, J.P., Madisha, T. and Kotze, A. 2017. Mitochondrial D-loop sequences reveal a mixture of endemism and immigration in Egyptian goat populations. Mitochondrial DNA, 28(5): 711–716.

Du Toit, Z., Du Plessis, M., Dalton, D.L., Jansen, R., Grobler, J.P. and Kotzé, A. 2017. Mitochondrial genomes of African pangolins and insights into evolutionary patterns and phylogeny of the family Manidae. BMC Genomics, 18:746.

Barasa, J.E., Mdyogolo, S., Abila, R., Grobler, J.P., Skilton, R.A., Bindeman, H., Njahira, M.N., Chemoiwa, E.J., Dangasuk, O.G., Kaunda-Arara, B. and  Verheyen, E.  2017. Genetic diversity and population structure of the African catfish, Clarias gariepinus (Burchell 1822) in Kenya: implication for conservation and aquaculture. Belgian Journal of Zoology, 147 (2): 105–127.

Woogeng, I.N., Coetzer, W.G., Etchu, K.A., Ndamukong, K.J.N. and Grobler, J.P. 2017. Current patterns of genetic diversity in indigenous and introduced species of land snails in Cameroon reflect isolation by distance, limited founder size and known evolutionary relationships, Mitochondrial DNA Part B, 2:375-380.

Grobler, J.P., Hayter, K.N., Labuschagne, C., Nel, E.J. and Coetzer, W.G. 2017. The genetic status of naturally occurring black-nosed impala from northern South Africa. Mammalian Biology, 82: 27–33.

Van Wyk, A., Dalton, D.L., Hoban, S., Bruford, M., Russo, I-S.M., Birss, C., Grobler, J.P., Janse van Vuuren, B., Kotzé, A. 2017. Quantitative evaluation of hybridization and the impact on biodiversity conservation. Ecology and Evolution, 7(1): 320–330.

Du Toit, Z., Grobler, J.P., Kotze, A., Jansen, R. and Dalton, D.L. 2016. Scale samples from Temminck’s ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii): a non-invasive source of DNA. Conservation Genetics Resources, doi:10.1007/s12686-016-0602-3.

Labuschagne, C., Nupen, L., Kotzé, A., Grobler, J.P. & Dalton, D. 2016. Genetic monitoring of ex situ African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) populations in South Africa. African Zoology, 51: 83-90.

Turner, T.R., Coetzer, W.G., Schmitt, C.A., Lorenz, J.G., Freimer, N.B. and Grobler, J.P. 2016. Localized population divergence of vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus spp.) in South Africa: evidence from mtDNA. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 159: 17-30.

Jones, J.W., Johnson, N., Grobler, J.P., Schilling, D., Neves, R.J. and Hallerman, E.M. 2015. Endangered Rough Pigtoe Pearlymussel: assessment of phylogenetic status and genetic differentiation of two disjunct populations. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management, 6(2): 338-349.

Pienaar, L., Neser, F.W.C., Grobler, J.P., Scholtz, M.M., Swart, H., Ehlers, K., Marx, M. and MacNeil, M.D. 2015. Pedigree analysis of the Afrikaner cattle breed. Animal Genetic Resources, 57: 51-56.

Labuschagne, C., Nupen, L., Kotz, A., Grobler, J.P. and Dalton, D.L. 2015. Assessment of microsatellite and SNP markers for parentage assignment in ex situ African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) populations. Ecology and Evolution, 5(19): 4389-4399.

Grobler, J.P., Ndyogolo, S., Barasa, J., Abila, R., Bindeman, H. and Schlemmer, A.F.J. 2015. Genetic identification of invasive walking catfish Clarias batrachus intermingled with African catfish C. gariepinus in South Africa. South African Journal of Wildlife Research, 45(1): 55–62.

Pienaar, L., Grobler, J.P. Neser, F.W.C., Scholtz, M.M. Swart, H. Ehlers, K. & Marx, M. 2014. Genetic diversity in selected stud and commercial herds of the Afrikaner cattle breed. South African Journal of Animal Science, 44: S80-S84.

Kotzé, A., Grobler, J.P., Van Marle-Köster, E., Jonker, T. and Dalton, D.L. 2014. The Tankwa Karoo National Park feral goat population: a unique genetic resource. South African Journal of Animal Science, 44: 43-48.

Labuschagne,C., Kotzé, A., Grobler, J.P. and Dalton, D.L. 2014. The Complete Sequence of the Mitochondrial Genome of the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus). Gene, 534: 113-118. 

Theron, N., Dalton, D., Grobler, J.P., Jansen, R. and Kotze, A. Molecular insights on the re-colonization of the Limpopo Valley, South Africa, by Southern Ground-Hornbills. Journal of Ornithology, in print (DOI 10.1007/s10336-013-0937-4).

Labuschagne, C., Kotzé, A., Grobler, J.P. and Dalton, D.L.  2013. A targeted gene approach to SNP discovery in the White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum). Conservation Genetics Resources, 5: 265-266.

Labuschagne, C., Van Wyk, A.M., Kotzé, A., Grobler, J.P. and Dalton, 2013. D.L. Isolation and characterization of species-specific microsatellite loci in African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus). Conservation Genetics Resources, 5: 169-171.

Schwab, P., Debes, P.V., Witt, T., Hartl, G,B., Hmwe, S.S., Zachos, F.E. and Grobler, J.P. 2012. Genetic structure of the common impala (Aepyceros melampus melampus) in South Africa: Phylogeography and implications for conservation. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 50: 76-84.

Soma, P., Kotze, A., Grobler, J.P. and Van Wyk, J.P. 2012. South African sheep breeds: population genetic structure and conservation implications. Small Ruminant Research,103: 112-119.

Grobler, J.P., Jones, J.W., Johnson, Grobler, J.P., Jones, J.W., Johnson, N.A., Neves, R.J. and Hallerman, E.M. 2011. Homogeneity at nuclear microsatellite loci masks mitochondrial haplotype diversity in the endangered fanshell pearlymussel (Cyprogenia stegaria). Journal of Heredity, 102(2): 196-206.

Grobler, J.P., Rushworth, I., Brink, J.S., Bloomer, P., Kotze, A., Reilly, B. & Vrahimis, S. 2011. Management of hybridization in an endemic species: decision making in the face of imperfect information in the case of the black wildebeest – Connochaetes gnou. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 57: 997-1006.

Bubb, A, Ehlers, K., Kotze, A and Grobler, J.P. 2011. The effect of sample age and storage method on DNA yield and microsatellite amplification from baboon (Papio ursinus) faecal samples. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 57: 971-975..

Moganedi, K.L.M., Sibara, M.M., Grobler, J.P. and Goyvaerts, E.M.A. 2011. An assessment of genetic diversity among marula populations (Sclerocarya birrea) using the AFLP Technique. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 6(4): 790-797.

Peters, F., Kotze, A., Van der Bank, F.H. and Grobler, J.P. 2010. Genetic profile of the locally developed Meatmaster sheep breed in South Africa based on microsatellite analysis. Small Ruminant Research, 90: 101-108.

Swart, H., Kotze, A. Olivier, P.A.S. and Grobler, J.P. 2010. Microsatellite-based characterization of Southern African domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domestica). South African Journal of Animal Science, 40(2), 121-132.

Garrine, C.M.L.P., Kotze, A., Els, H. and Grobler, J.P. 2010. Genetic characterization of the indigenous Landim and Pafuri goat breeds from Mozambique. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 5(22): 3130-3137.

Kotze, A., Ehlers, K., Cilliers, D.C. and Grobler, J.P. 2008. The power of resolution of microsatellite markers and assignment tests to determine the origin of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) in southern Africa. Mammalian Biology, 73: 457-462. 

Hallerman, E.M., Grobler, J.P. and Jones, W.J. 2007. Application of DNA markers for population genetic analysis. In: Aquaculture Genome Technologies. Edited by J. Liu. Blackwell Publishing. 584pp. (ISBN: 9780813802039).

Henley, W.F., Grobler, J.P. and Neves, R.J. 2006. Non-invasive method to obtain DNA from freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae). Journal of Shellfish Research, 25(3): 975-978.

Vignieri, S.N., Hallerman, E.M., Bergstrom, B.J., Hafner, D.J., Martin, A.P., Devers, P., Grobler, J.P. and N. Hitt. 2006. Mistaken view of taxonomic validity undermines conservation of an evolutionarily distinctive mouse: a response to Ramey et al. (2005). Animal Conservation, 9: 237-243.

Grobler, J.P., Jones, J.W., Johnson, N.A., Beaty, B., Struthers, J., Neves, R.J. and Hallerman, E.M. 2006. Patterns of genetic differentiation in the slabside pearlymussel, Lexingtonia dolabelloides Lea 1840, in the Tennessee River drainage. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 72: 65-75.

Grobler, J.P. 2006. Enzyme structure, enzyme function and allozyme variability in mammals: trends from South African population genetic studies. African Zoology, 41(1): 137-142.

Grobler, J.P., Pretorius, D.M., Botha, K., Kotze, A., Hallerman, E.M. and Jansen van Vuuren, B. 2005. An exploratory analysis of geographic genetic variation in southern African nyala (Tragelaphus angasii). Mammalian Biology, 70: 291-299.

Grobler, J.P., Kotze, A., Swart, H. and Hallerman, E.M. 2005. The application of microsatellite DNA markers for forensic analysis of koi carp (Cyprinus carpio). South African Journal of Science, 101: 19-21.

Grobler, J.P., Hartl. G.B., Grobler, N., Kotze, A., Botha, K. and Tiedemann, R. 2005. The genetic status of an isolated black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou) population from the Abe Bailey Nature Reserve, South Africa: Microsatellite data on a putative past hybridization with blue wildebeest (C. taurinus). Mammalian Biology, 70: 35-45.

Nolte, M., Kotzé, A. Van der Bank, F.H. and Grobler, J.P. 2005. Microsatellite markers reveal low genetic differentiation among southern African Camelus dromedarius populations. South African Journal of Animal Science, 35(3): 152-161. 

Kotze, A., Swart, H., Grobler, J.P. and Nemaangani, A. 2004. A genetic profile of the Kalahari Red goat breed from southern Africa. South African Journal of Animal Science, 34(1): 10-12.

Greyling, M., Grobler, J.P., Van der Bank, F.H. and Kotze, A. 2004. Genetic characterization of a domestic dog Canis familiaris breed endemic to South African rural areas. Acta Theriologica, 49(3): 369-382.

Grobler, J.P., Mafumo. H.B. and Min


  • Conservation and Population Genetics

Area(s) of Interest

My main research interest is genetic connectivity among populations, and the identification and management of possibly unique geographical genetic variants within species, at levels lower than the levels traditionally addressed by taxonomists, thus addressing ESUs (evolutionary significant units) and MUs (management units). This question is studied using various organisms as models, extending from large ungulates and primates down to invertebrates (including freshwater mussels). I have also studied genetic diversity in fragmented populations through most of my career. The current aim is to include an adaptive component, to gauge the real fitness effects of loss of genetic diversity. A final research interest is hybridization between species, specifically between blue and black wildebeest. The aim of the latter work is to find DNA markers and statistical approaches for the unambiguous identification of hybrids.

Courses Presented

GENP6824 (Conservation Genetics)
GENE3744 (Population Genetics)


Elfrieda Lötter: Marketing Manager
T: +27 51 401 2531

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