Mark of the Endangered Beast

Tuna sushi
Originally uploaded by adactio

A technique known as DNA barcoding is helping investigators identify mislabeled endangered species to help keep them in the oceans and off our dinner plates. Conscientious consumers want to enjoy sushi from sustainable sources, but doing so is difficult when restaurants and markets mislabel species or are not specific in their labeling. Researchers from the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History studied tuna sold at restaurants in New York City and Denver, Colorado. Their results, published in the open access journal PLoS One, reveal that almost half of the restaurants did not accurately label the tuna and that nearly a third of the tuna was bluefin, which due to over-fishing is currently being considered for CITES protection. The long-term application for the research would be a hand-held scanner that wildlife management teams could use to correctly identify species before they wind up in your bento box. Read more at Discovery News.


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