Fish specials at your local restaurant may soon come with an extra guarantee of quality and sustainability, as fishmongers start checking the DNA of their wares. The Food and Drug Administration approved DNA barcoding last month, and restaurants are planning to start using it to prove the provenance of their pricey fish, the AP reports.
DNA barcoding can be used to protect endangered species and guard against sale of illicit ones — from overfished tuna to bushmeat sold on the black market, even to medicinal herbs and plants. It can also guarantee that a restaurant patron is really eating the pricey Beluga caviar he paid for, and not a cheaper substitute.
A DNA barcode works somewhat like it sounds, by using a short sequence of DNA to identify a species using a known database. The Consortium for the Barcode of Life, based at the Smithsonian Institution, has been using the technology in research projects and to prove it works, and now the FDA has approved its use in private industry, too. This week, scientists and industry experts are meeting at the University of Adelaide in Australia for the fourth International Barcode of Life Conference, where the DNA barcode boom will be a hot topic, as Wired UK reports. Researchers will also discuss its use in studying what animals ate, by examining their dung; scanning permafrost to look for ancient creatures and their habitats; and even monitoring water quality, by searching for a bevy of microbes that can be hazardous to human health.
But most people will encounter this new technology during dinnertime, where it can be used to prove an animal's identity. David Schindel, the group's executive secretary, told AP the technology is poised to take off in the seafood industry. "We're going to start seeing a self-regulating movement by the high-end trade, embracing barcoding as a mark of quality," he said.
The barcode group aims to create a database of 5 million standardized DNA sequences, which could be used to identify 500,000 species, by 2015.
I suppose this is good in some ways. POPSCI wrote about the development of a mutant type Samon Fish. I sure like to know when it is being cooked and so I have a choice in eating or not eating it.
On a side note, it is said our human DNA has a large quantity of junk DNA. What if a alien species let a book\history or directions our own DNA. Seem in this article if they can write things in DNA, perhaps aliens wrote in ours too. I mean really, why humans have so much junk DNA, unless it has another purpose.
I am just so Qurious!
Still waiting for my species DNA identification app for smartphones!
How would this actually work?
Is it mainly for the FDA inspectors? Or intended for me, the consumer?
In essence, if I'm sitting at a restaurant and I order some sashimi... how do I verify the fish I'm dipping in soy sauce matches the DNA barcode displayed by the restaurant?
"Do not offer sympathy to the mentally ill.
Tell them firmly:
I am not paid to listen to this drivel.
You are a terminal boob." - William S. Burroughs
The article left off; there is in development a smart phone app for you question. You simply pull out your smart phone and scan your fishies, prior to consumption.
They call the app, an "Appetizer". ;)
I am just so Qurious!
Humans have so much junk DNA because you evolved from single-celled bacteria to mammal over 3.5 billion years. In that time, the vast majority of your genetic sequence was designed for features you no longer have and no longer benefit from, but which benefited a long-distant ancestor of yours.
That being said, you certainly can "write" information into the genetic code, given adequate technology and motivation. Check out Craig Venter's work, who inserted 4 watermarks into a synthetic single-celled organism (he created new dna from the ground up, and implanted it into a host bacteria cell, which then accepted the new instructions and deleted the old, similar to how a virus works).
The watermarks inserted into the dna code are:
Code table for entire alphabet with punctuations
Names of 46 contributing scientists
The web address for the cell.
This all being said, there's no proof to date of any sort of hidden code in human DNA -- it's simply a biproduct of billions of years of evolution.
Specific information is embedded in a QR Code that typically includes a URL pointing a consumer to a website, a Facebook page or any other informational communication channel. QR codes are also used for online business cards in order to transmit information from one contact to another. Yet the most common use for QR barcodes is the process of directing consumers to a website or a landing page.
This is perfect for my father. He prides him self on being a fish aficionado. Plenty of times he will go to a restaurant and order a fish like trout but in fact is tilapia. He will get the cook out there and barrade them until they finally admit that their fresh trout is actually frozen (and much cheaper) tilapia. It was super embaraccing when I was there to witness, but in reality he was 100% in the right. A restaurant should not blatantly lie to you just becuase 99 out 100 custimosrs can not tell the difference between two simalr fish.
No more passing haddock off as cod