Navigation Links
Mescal 'worm' test shows DNA leaks into preservatives

Just because you don't swallow the worm at the bottom of a bottle of mescal doesn't mean you have avoided the essential worminess of the potent Mexican liquor, according to scientists at the University of Guelph.

Researchers from U of G's Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) have discovered that mescal itself contains the DNA of the agave butterfly caterpillar the famously tasty "worm" that many avoid consuming. Their findings will appear in the March issue of BioTechniques, which is available online now.

The BIO researchers set out to test a hypothesis that DNA from a preserved specimen can leak into its preservative liquid. As part of their study, they tested a sample of liquid from a bottle of mescal. The liquor was found to contain DNA, which they amplified and sequenced to obtain a DNA barcode telltale genetic material that identifies species of living things.

Comparing the sample to thousands of records of Lepidoptera DNA barcodes stored in the Barcode of Life Data Systems database at Guelph confirmed that the mescal liquid contained DNA related to the agave's family.

"This is a surprising result," said research team member Mehrdad Hajibabaei, Assistant Professor, BIO and Department of Integrative Biology. He noted that mescal contains only 40 per cent ethanol and potentially many impurities that can degrade DNA.

"Showing that the DNA of a preserved specimen can be obtained from the preservative liquid introduces a range of important possibilities," Hajibabaei said. "We can develop inexpensive, high-throughput, field-friendly and non-invasive genetic analysis protocols for situations where the original tissue cannot be touched or when there is simply no sample left for analysis."

The scientists also successfully identified other "fresh" specimens contained in preservative ethanol including whole insects (caddisflies and mayflies) and plant leaves as well as seven preserved specimens collected seven to 10 years earlier.

The study is part of the technology development phase of the International Barcode of Life Project (iBOL). Based at U of G, it's the largest biodiversity genomics project ever undertaken. More than 200 scientists from 25 countries are creating DNA barcode reference library for all life, developing new technologies to access it and applying DNA barcoding in economically, socially and environmentally beneficial ways.


Contact: John Chenery
International Barcode of Life

Related biology news :

1. Brains timing linked with timescales of the natural visual world
2. Shipworm threatens archaeological treasures
3. Miscanthus, a biofuels crop, can host western corn rootworm
4. More than fish bait: Worms unlock secrets to new epilepsy treatments
5. Pinhead-size worms + robot = new antibiotics
6. Parasitic worms make sex worthwhile
7. International research team seeks to unravel flatworm regeneration
8. To swim or to crawl: For the worm its a no brainer
9. A worm-and-mouse tale: B cells deserve more respect
10. Ancient geologic escape hatches mistaken for tube worms
11. Key to curing obesity may lie in worms that destroy their own fat: McGill researchers
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/10/2015)... Nov. 10, 2015  In this report, ... basis of product, type, application, disease indication, ... this report are consumables, services, software. The ... safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. ... are diagnostics development, drug discovery and development, ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... , Nov. 9, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... solutions, today announced broader entry into the automotive market ... that match the pace of consumer electronics human interface ... sensors are ideal for the automotive industry and will ... Europe , Japan ...
(Date:10/29/2015)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical ... research, is pleased to announce that it has been ... one of only three finalists for a 2015 ... Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor Minnesota ... innovation and leadership. iMedNet™ eClinical ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... MUMBAI , November 26, 2015 ... --> Accutest Research ... accredited Contract Research Organization (CRO), has ... Chase Cancer Center - Temple Health ... ,     (Photo: ) ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Studies reveal the differences in species of bacteria ... for more effective treatment for one of the most commonly ... --> --> Gum disease is one ... relatively little was understood about the bacteria associated with it ... researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition together with ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: OREX ... fireside chat discussion at the Piper Jaffray 27th Annual ... The discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2, at ... A replay will be available for 14 days after ... Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications and Business Development , BrewLife(858) ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: ... speaking at the following conference, and invited investors to ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ... Conference, New York, NY      Tuesday, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: