I am a technology transfer professional in the Research Innovation Office, University of Guelph. Our office’s priority is translating research into applications that make an impact on society. My focus is the commercialization of inventions that help protect the environment, create jobs, and improve life.
Of relevance to the Biodiversity Resilience Network is a biological tracer (biotracer) project I am working on with Dr. Kevin McCann. This project explores the feasibility of using biotracers (e.g. DNA, stable isotopes, fatty acids) to monitor the trade of wildlife and plants around the globe and builds on the University of Guelph's strength in DNA barcoding (i.e. species identification). The gap we are looking to address is a standardized way to authenticate the origin of animals and plants that enter trade. Key questions of interest span both fundamental and applied domains of research and include, but are not limited to:
- How do common biotracers vary in space and time?
- Are there biotracers that work for both plants and animals?
- How correlated are various biotracers?
- What is the most cost-effective combination of biotracers?
- How do DNA preservatives affect the signal of other biotracer classes (e.g. stable isotopes)?
Taken together, our goal is to build a forensic tool that can elucidate the what (species ID) and where (origin) of natural resources (animals, plants) at any point in the supply chain to increase the transparency and accountability of global trade.
Tyler on Twitter @tylerzem
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