Species Identification Services
Food Quality Assurance & Control
Please contact us with your species identification needs. With barcodes available for over 180,000 species, the possibilities are endless.
Collisions between birds (and other wildlife) and aircraft are known to cause substantial losses to the aviation industry in terms of damage and delays every year. According to a 2012 audit report from the US Inspector General’s office, reported bird strikes have quintupled in the past two decades due to increases in populations of hazardous bird species. In 2012, the total number of reported bird strikes by civilian and military aircraft was 15,700 in the US and 1,500 in Canada. A 12-lb Canada goose struck by a 150-mph aircraft at lift-off generates the kinetic energy of a 1,000-lb weight dropped from a height of 10 feet. Direct repair/replacement costs for bird/wildlife strikes are on average USD$90,000. Indirect costs can be expected to be four times as much and can reach as much as USD$15,000 per hour.
There are over 700 species of birds in North America. Our forensic laboratory is capable of identifying your bird or wildlife strike to the species level using DNA from whole or partial animal remains.
Food Quality Assurance & Control
Food fraud: Seafood
We have been working closely with the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) since 2005 to develop tools to combat seafood fraud.
Are you getting what you paid for? According to a study by the international non-profit agency OCEANA, it is estimated that US consumers have a 1 in 4 chance of purchasing seafood that is fraudulently mislabelled. In some regions, such as Southern California and Texas, the risk can be as high as 1 in 2. According to the FDA, the sale of unregulated species is dangerous to consumers because of health risks such as exposure to poisonous toxins, allergens, pathogens and parasites.
Food fraud: Meat
Products containing processed meat, such as ground beef, are susceptible to substitutions for meats of lesser economic value. The 2013 horsemeat scandal in the United Kingdom served as a strong reminder of how damaging unreliable suppliers can be to corporate brands. The international giant Tesco is estimated to have lost USD$460M due to dips in consumer confidence after four of its product lines were found to contain horsemeat.
The US Food and Drug administration (FDA) has identified the 22 most common pests contributing to the spread of foodborne pathogens, known by the industry as 'The Dirty 22.' We worked with the FDA to develop a DNA-based method to test simultaneously for these species: German cockroach, brownbanded cockroach, oriental cockroach, American cockroach, pharaoh ant, thief ant, house fly, stable fly, little house fly, latrine fly, cosmopolitan blue bottle fly, Holarctic blue bottle fly, oriental latrine fly, secondary screwworm, blue bottle fly, green bottle fly, black blow fly, redtailed flesh fly, house mouse, Polynesian rat, Norway rat, and roof rat.
Reference DNA Barcode libraries have been built for the freshwater indicator species that are most commonly used for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). When combined with the CCDB's high-throughput workflow, we can deliver over 10,000 species-ids per week. This is particularly helpful for difficult groups such as the nonbiting midges (Chironomus spp.), which are essential components of a stream/river assessment, but are notoriously difficult to identify to species.
Invasive Species Detection: Flying Insects
Sea Ports are integral parts of global trade and common vectors of species introductions. The key to controlling species invasions is early detection. Caught early, insects can be quarantined and eliminated. Left undetected, populations can quickly grow and lead to outbreaks with heavy economic consequences. Non-native, wood-boring insects such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle are costing an estimated $1.7 billion in local government expenditures and approximately $830 million in lost residential property values every year.
The CCDB's remote surveillance stations can quickly warn pest management teams of invasive flying insects in your area.
Sharks need better protection to prevent possible extinction of many species within coming decades. As many as 180 species of sharks, skates and rays are recognized by the IUCN Red List as vulnerable and this number is growing as more data becomes available. Currently, there are 18 species protected under the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). It is illegal to harvest or import CITES-listed species.
Bushmeat is a term used to describe wild game that is hunted in Asia or Africa for human consumption. Examples include: elephant; gorilla; chimpanzee and other primates; forest antelope (duikers); crocodile; porcupine; bush pig; cane rat; pangolin; monitor lizard; guinea fowl; etc. The recent discovery of illegal bushmeat markets in several major Canadian and US cities is alarming. The consumption of primates can contribute to the emergence and spread of infectious diseases such as AIDs, SARs, Ebola, West Nile Virus, and dengue hemorrhagic fever. Species diagnosis is a necessary step in identifying risks to human health.
"The Smithsonian Institution’s Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) will use its $3 million Google Impact Awards grant to create and begin implementing 'DNA barcoding' as an actionable tool for protecting the world’s most endangered wildlife. Working with researchers in six developing countries, CBOL will build a public library of DNA barcodes that law enforcement officials can use to identify confiscated material."
-Google's Global Impact Awards page