Profs Talk Barcoding, Bird Die-Offs in National Media

October 25, 2011 - Campus Bulletin

Integrative biology professor Robert Hanner was featured on CBC Radio’s popular morning show The Current Tuesday discussing how DNA barcoding technology can detect mislabelled seafood. It was part of a series called “A Fish Tale” about issues involving fish caught and sold in Canada.

Hanner is associate director of the Canadian Barcode of Life Network, which is headquartered at the U of G-based Biodiversity Institute of Ontario. He also co-ordinates the Fish Barcode of Life campaign intended to barcode the world’s fish species.

In 2008, he was involved in a study in which students and scientists collected some 100 fish samples from restaurants and markets in Toronto, Guelph and New York City and found that about 25 per cent of the fish was mislabelled. DNA barcoding is a molecular technique developed by integrative biology professor Paul Hebert that allows scientists to match up barcodes from specimens of unknown identity to those derived from expert-identified reference specimens.

U of G pathologist Doug Campbell appeared on the CBC-TV news program The National Monday night talking about what killed thousands of birds along Georgian Bay. He also appeared on Global TV and is featured in an online question/answer news article about the severe form of botulism that is believed to have caused the mass bird die-off.

Campbell is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Pathobiology at the Ontario Veterinary College and a researcher with the Canadian Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre. The centre has helped design and implement surveillance systems for avian flu and West Nile virus, as well as other zoonotic diseases (ones that can be passed from animals to humans).

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