DNA Barcoding

DNA Barcoding


[High tech background music starts and continues throughout] Narrator: DNA is a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions of an organism, and it is unique to each species. DNA barcoding is a method that uses an organisms DNA… …to identify it as belonging to a certain species. In Canada, our scientists are at the leading edge… …of DNA barcoding. At Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada… …we have been identifying thousands of good and bad organisms, and registering their DNA barcodes to international databanks. The benefits of this work on DNA barcoding are huge… …for our agricultural crops, livestock and trade. [High tech background music continues] [High tech background music continues] [High tech background music continues] [High tech background music continues] [High tech background music continues] [High tech background music continues] Dr. Levesque: I work in mycology. And there are many cases where the organism would look the same in culture. It would look the same under the microscope. And we do need DNA sequencing… …to figure out if they are different species or not. Most Canadians don’t realize it but identifying organisms… …is part of daily life. Well you go to a supermarket… …and you want to make sure that there’re no pathogens in there that we did not import… …plant quarantined organisms in the food we’re eating. So it is part of the daily life. And we don’t see it. Tom Graefenhan: With the Canadian Food Inspection Agency we explore… …state of the art technology, such as next generation sequencing and metagenomics… …for the detection of pathogens in cereals and other grains. Accurate and reliable identification of these microorganisms is paramount. : DNA barcode data sets supports the information provided on phyto-sanitary certificates… …and statements of assurance for grain shipments. These certificates and statements secure free market access… …for Canadian grain exports worth billions of dollars every year. Dr. André Levesque: The challenges that DNA barcoding can resolve are really numerous. For my lab and our group here we are really focusing on quarantine… …and invasive species. One of these organisms can really cause hundreds of millions of dollars in trade disruptions. So we are trying to prevent the introduction. And we are trying to develop tools… …to make sure that what we export is clean. Tom Graefenhan: A recent example where DNA barcoding played an important role was a shipment of pulses to South America. By linking newly acquired DNA baseline data with specimen and other historical information… …we were able to quickly confirm the absence of the pathogen in Canada… …assuring compliance of the multi-million dollar cargo. Dr. André Levesque: The future is very promising for this kind of technology. Dr. André Levesque: The technology now is such that we’re making if more available and easier to use by a wider range of people. [High tech background music fades out.]

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