Crop Biotech Update

DNA Technology Developed for Faster Species Discovery

April 10, 2013

Researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and the University of Western Australia developed and tested a new molecular technique that has the potential to aid discovery of new species, especially those in remote and insufficiently-researched areas. The technique, known as "ecogenomics" will be used by researchers to survey the rainforest vine thickets of Australia's National Heritage-listed Kimberley region. Ecogenomics involves identification of species based on their DNA and morphology in a more rapid and cost-effective way than the conventional strategies used. Thus, the technique has the potential to improve the efficiency of environmental impact assessments and conservation management.

For the next months, the research team will analyze the DNA of more than 300,000 insect specimens and search for presence of endemic species.