Barcoding the food chain: from Sanger to high-throughput sequencing.
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Society faces the complex challenge of supporting biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, while ensuring food security by providing safe traceable food through an ever-more-complex global food chain. The increase in human mobility brings the added threat of pests, parasites, and invaders that further complicate our agro-industrial efforts. DNA barcoding technologies allow researchers to identify both individual species, and, when combined with universal primers and high-throughput sequencing techniques, the diversity within mixed samples (metabarcoding). These tools are already being employed to detect market substitutions, trace pests through the forensic evaluation of trace "environmental DNA", and to track parasitic infections in livestock. The potential of DNA barcoding to contribute to increased security of the food chain is clear, but challenges remain in regulation and the need for validation of experimental analysis. Here, we present an overview of the current uses and challenges of applied DNA barcoding in agriculture, from agro-ecosystems within farmland to the kitchen table.
AuthorsLittlefair, JE; Clare, EL
- Organismal Biology