The article published recently in DNA Barcodes (http://www.versita.com/dnabra), an open access journal by Versita, describes the protocol set up by Dr. W.M. Sin and Dr. Y.K. Tam - to examine whether DNA methods alone suffice to detect fraudulent substitution of commercial deer products or, whether any additional protocols are necessary to detect fraudulent substitution of cattle and water buffalo tendons (HK$50-80) for deer tendons (HK$280-640). The research confirmed that no other method proves as efficient and straightforward as the use of DNA barcodes, which are sufficient on their own to detect such substitution for deer in all tendon products, except for glue. Furthermore, the research findings permit DNA detection of fraudulent substitution of commercial deer products, regardless of their physical condition.
The attractiveness of this method lies in its utility. Commenting on the research, Prof. Jan Pawlowski, from the Department of Genetics & Evolution at University of Geneva, Switzerland, says: "The authors did an excellent work, offering a robust, solid and viable molecular tools to identify deer DNA even in highly processed products. This is a new example showing the importance of DNA barcoding for traceability of commercial products".
The method may well be embraced by law enforcement authorities and forensic scientists as an inexpensive alternative that only requires standard laboratory techniques for handling DNA. The move helps to combat the widespread mislabeling of deer, which results in cheaper meat being sold as a more expensive deer variety. It also opens a prospect for more in-depth research into other food supplies, and the roll-out of new technology that would allow a systematic use of barcoding. With the new food
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