Barcoding at the Border: On-the-go Genetic Test to Stop Illegal Wildlife Trafficking
Imagine being able to implement a quick on-the-spot DNA test that could identify unrecognizable wildlife products that are being trafficked through a country border. This test is being developed at WCS and merges several new technologies that can be taken to remote locations in the field: a handheld DNA amplifier run by a smart phone, a field-friendly DNA extraction kit that purifies DNA in 3 minutes, a handheld DNA sequencer, and bioinformatics software that can be run off a laptop. This technology will also have the potential to be applied to other applications for conservation, such as biodiversity surveys, identifying species complexes in an environment (i.e. bats or fish), or diet reconstruction in marine creatures such as sharks.