A team of researchers from NOAA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and other partners have released the first batch of fish DNA barcodes, curated DNA sequences that can be used to identify and authenticate seafood.
Identifying seafood after processing has removed any identifiable features is difficult – fillets of one species can look identical to another. DNA testing offers one solution and can provide concrete identification, but full genetic sequencing can be time-consuming. With DNA barcodes, scientists can sequence a short, standardized section of the DNA and compare it to a library of similar sequences to determine its species quickly and efficiently.
The most important tool for DNA barcoding is a large library of samples, and NOAA, the FDA, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Philippine National Fisheries Research and Development Institute have teamed up to build it. Over the last nine years, the team has gathered approximately 4,000 fish specimens from Philippine markets. The DNA was sequenced to create bar codes, and samples were cataloged at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History for reference...