Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Saturday, September 12, 2009

DNA Bar Codes Could Help Identify Illegal Bush Meat

This is an interesting piece from the Scientific American blog.
One of the major challenges in combating the bushmeat trade is identifying the source species for the meat and products. Once an animal has been carved up, meat looks like meat and leather looks like leather. How is anyone to know if it came from a species that is protected under national or international law?

A technique called DNA bar coding could be the answer. According to a paper published in the September 1 online edition of the journal Conservation Genetics, DNA bar codes can be used to quickly and clearly distinguish the source species of meat or leather goods for many rare and threatened species.

1 comment:

Andrew said...


The problem of illegal bush meat is extremely serious, and under normal circumstances, I could not understand how anyone could possibly distinguish between a legally killed animal and an illegally killed one once the animal has been 'carved up,' as the article to which you refer puts it.

If DNA technology can be used to help overcome this problem, then this would represent a wonderful example of the application of technology to eliminate or at least reduce the impact of a highly unethical and extremely poor practice.

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