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Experts in verifying test specimens by DNA barcoding

A DNA-based service for accurate species-level identifications

To date, ecotoxicological test species are usually identified based on morphological characters only, which may often lead to misidentifications because (1) closely related species may differ by a few, easily overlooked characters and (2) several test species are in fact complexes of cryptic species. Since different species can show different responses to toxic substances, an accurate identification of test organisms is critical for the reliability and correct interpretation of ecotoxicological results.

At AllGenetics, we use DNA barcoding to determine the specific identity and, if possible, the genetic lineage of unknown test specimens. This method is based on obtaining a DNA sequence from a specific genomic region of the sample (the DNA barcode). The sequence obtained is then compared against reference databases with DNA barcodes from specimens of known identity. Our expertise in DNA barcoding covers most terrestrial and aquatic test species from diverse taxonomic groups (click here for a complete list of species). If your target species is not in the list, please, do not hesitate to contact us and let us know what your specific testing requirements are.

This service can be applied to either guarantee that the laboratory species or strains used for testing are well characterised, or to identify the specimens collected in field studies in a quick and cost-effective way.

As members of the Working Group 'Effects on soil fauna' of the ISO/TC 190/CS4 Committee, AllGenetics is actively involved in the drafting of the document ISO/DIS 21286: Identification of ecotoxicological test species by DNA barcoding. This standard details a validated protocol for incorporating DNA barcoding as a quality control test in ecotoxicological testing, with the ultimate goal of improving the consistency and comparability of the results obtained by different laboratories.

What you receive

With our standard service you receive a specimen identification certificate, a summary of the methods followed, the raw electropherogram files, and your manually-edited sequences in FASTA format. If you require additional analyses, please let us know and we will do our best to meet your needs.

What we need

Your tissue samples appropriately preserved depending on the sample type (ethanol, silica gel, frozen, or another suitable preservation method). If required, we provide sampling kits and sampling collection guidelines to ensure that your samples arrive at our lab in optimal conditions.

How we work

Step 1: we isolate DNA from your samples. We have adapted different DNA isolation protocols, depending on the starting biological material.

Step 2: we amplify the genomic region of interest (the DNA barcode) using universal or in-house-developed primer pairs.

Step 3: we sequence the PCR products in both directions.

Step 4: we analyse the electropherograms obtained and compare the resulting sequences against reference databases to find the matching species.

Please contact us for further information and pricing.

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