Trading in skins of the reticulated python is such a lucrative business that illegal exports are rising sharply and existing trade restrictions are being circumvented on a large scale. This is endangering the stability of populations. Therefore, researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the Royal Zoological Society Scotland (RZSS) are developing genetic methods for tracking down individual origins and potential trade routes of the skins. Initial results have now been published in the renowned journal PLOS ONE. They show the genetic variation across reticulated python populations in Southeast Asia, and demonstrate the importance of such data for the long-term conservation of the giant snake species and controlled trade of its skin.