A nuclear DNA-based species determination and DNA quantification assay for common poultry species
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DNA testing for food authentication and quality control requires sensitive species-specific quantification of nuclear DNA from complex and unknown biological sources. We have developed a multiplex assay based on TaqMan® real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) for species-specific detection and quantification of chicken (Gallus gallus), duck (Anas platyrhynchos), and turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) nuclear DNA. The multiplex assay is able to accurately detect very low quantities of species-specific DNA from single or multispecies sample mixtures; its minimum effective quantification range is 5 to 50 pg of starting DNA material. In addition to its use in food fraudulence cases, we have validated the assay using simulated forensic sample conditions to demonstrate its utility in forensic investigations. Despite treatment with potent inhibitors such as hematin and humic acid, and degradation of template DNA by DNase, the assay was still able to robustly detect and quantify DNA from each of the three poultry species in mixed samples. The efficient species determination and accurate DNA quantification will help reduce fraudulent food labeling and facilitate downstream DNA analysis for genetic identification and traceability.
KeywordsMulti-species identification Multi-species DNA quantification Food safety Food testing Animal forensic science
This study was supported by a National Institute of Justice grant 2008-DN-BX-K288 to SK. We wish to thank Eric Johnston (Scidera, Davis, CA), John Metzer (Metzer Farms, Gonzales, CA), Cheryl Schellhous, and various human and non-human donors for their samples.
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