Scientists develop Atlantic fish DNA database with possible conservation and seafood fraud implications

Feb 07, 2013
Paul Bentzen assists a student with research in Dal's Marine Gene Probe Lab.

Dal's Paul Bentzen and colleagues have developed a publically available DNA database to identify all fish commonly encountered in the ocean off Atlantic Canada. This database could impact ocean conservation, species tracking and seafood fraud.

Bentzen and colleagues used a cataloguing process called "". Canada has led the world in this area. Dr. Bentzen's work is part of a larger effort to catalogue all species. Anyone can access the database at http://www.barcodinglife.com/. The database could help with species tracking and conservation, as it will make illegally landed fish easier to identify. Research suggests that certain people have, and continue to, illegally land and keep high-value species.

In addition, the catalogue could help combat seafood fraud by making identifying fraud more accessible. Currently, consumers are not always receiving what they order from a menu or read on a food label. Research shows that low-value species are sometimes substituted for high-value ones.

According to Paul Bentzen, Professor in the Department of Biology, "With growing pressures from fisheries, climate change and invasive species, it is more important than ever to monitor and understand biodiversity in the sea, and how it is changing. Our database provides a new tool for species identification that will help us monitor biodiversity. The availability of ever easier to use DNA sequencing technology can make almost anyone 'expert' at identifying species - and all it takes is a scrap of tissue."

He continued, "There can be many steps in the supply chain between when the fish leaves the water and when it appears on a plate. With many desirable species becoming ever more scarce and expensive, there will always be temptation to substitute a cheaper fish (or an illegally harvested one) for a legal, more expensive one. We know it happens. never lie, unlike some seafood labels and . With the , it will be easier to detect seafood fraud when it happens."

Explore further: Campaigners say protected birds in danger in Malta

More information: Barcode of Life Database: www.barcodinglife.com/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Restaurants plan DNA-certified premium seafood

Nov 27, 2011

(AP) -- Restaurants around the world will soon use new DNA technology to assure patrons they are being served the genuine fish fillet or caviar they ordered, rather than inferior substitutes, an expert in genetic identification ...

In cod we trust: DNA test combats fisheries fraud

May 22, 2012

Scientists on Tuesday said they had devised a DNA test to pinpoint the geographical origins of commercial seafish, in a breakthrough against illegal trawling that threatens fish stocks worldwide.

DNA barcoding reveals mislabeled cod and haddock in Dublin

Apr 22, 2010

Ecological scientists in Ireland recently used DNA barcoding to identify species of fish labeled as either "cod" or "haddock" in fish and chip shops, fresh fish counters and supermarkets in 10 postal districts in Dublin. ...

Eco-labeled seafood is not always what it seems

Aug 22, 2011

When you buy what looks to be a nice piece of certified sustainable fish at the supermarket, you'd like to think that's exactly what you're getting. Unfortunately, things aren't always what they seem, according to researchers ...

Study finds healthy seafood comes from sustainable fish

Aug 02, 2012

When ordering seafood, the options are many and so are some of the things you might consider in what you order. Is your fish healthy? Is it safe? Is it endangered? While there are many services and rankings offered to help ...

'Barcoding blitz' on Australian moths and butterflies

May 05, 2011

In just 10 weeks a team of Canadian researchers has succeeded in 'barcoding' 28,000 moth and butterfly specimens – or about 65 per cent of Australia’s 10,000 known species – held at CSIRO's ...

Recommended for you

Invasive vines swallow up New York's natural areas

15 hours ago

(Phys.org) —When Antonio DiTommaso, a Cornell weed ecologist, first spotted pale swallow-wort in 2001, he was puzzled by it. Soon he noticed many Cornell old-field edges were overrun with the weedy vines. ...

Citizen scientists match research tool when counting sharks

Apr 23, 2014

Shark data collected by citizen scientists may be as reliable as data collected using automated tools, according to results published April 23, 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Gabriel Vianna from The University of Wes ...

Researchers detail newly discovered deer migration

Apr 23, 2014

A team of researchers including University of Wyoming scientists has documented the longest migration of mule deer ever recorded, the latest development in an initiative to understand and conserve ungulate ...

How Australia got the hump with one million feral camels

Apr 23, 2014

A new study by a University of Exeter researcher has shed light on how an estimated one million-strong population of wild camels thriving in Australia's remote outback have become reviled as pests and culled ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.

Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity

The smallest, most abundant marine microbe, Prochlorococcus, is a photosynthetic bacteria species essential to the marine ecosystem. An estimated billion billion billion of the single-cell creatures live i ...

Cell resiliency surprises scientists

New research shows that cells are more resilient in taking care of their DNA than scientists originally thought. Even when missing critical components, cells can adapt and make copies of their DNA in an alternative ...