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Course Description

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Regulatory science can benefit from barcoding technology to give precise identification to the species level of traded commodities, as well as preserving identity chains where close substitutes or counterfeits disrupt economics and trust between partners. Barcoding is relevant in these respects to trade associated with forestry, capture and culture fisheries, terrestrial agriculture including commodity crops, fruits and food animals. In addition to the authentication and traceability functions, barcoding can also serve an important role in the identification and surveillance of pests. It may even be possible to use barcoding technology for identity preservation systems traded commodities such as crops where adventitious presence of un-approved varieties threatens trade and brings the risk of economic loss. This program will provide an overview of the state of current technology and the various platforms used. The course consist of a series of online lectures and research exercises introducing different aspects of regulatory and forensic DNA barcoding research. We will also touch on the suite of bioinformatics tools available for sequence analysis and data interpretation.

Designed For

This course would be of interest to researchers, educators, government regulatory staff, graduate students, forensic staff, lab technicians, museum collection staff etc.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Describe and comprehend the background of the DNA barcoding technology and analysis;
  2. Identify species by performing database queries with common databases and interpretation of results in the context of regulatory demands;
  3. Critically evaluate studies that utilized DNA-based taxonomy and understand potential limitations;
  4. Develop skills to make informed decisions about the choice of DNA technology and laboratory needs; and
  5. Synthesize knowledge and effectively communicate about DNA Barcoding for grant proposals, budget allocations, as well as interactions with decision makers.

Course Topics

  • Regulatory and forensic science
  • DNA barcoding – an overview
  • Analysis and interpretation of DNA barcode results
  • Applications for food safety (marketplace fraud, foodborne pathogens)
  • Applications for illegal wildlife trade and criminal forensics
  • Identification of quarantine organisms/pest species/indicator species

Additional Requirements

Minimum high school leaving certificate or secondary school diploma with biology credits.


Assessment Item Weight
Quizzes (3 x 20%) 60%
Discussions 20%
Assignments 20%
Total 100%


College: Department of Integrative Biology

Department: Biodiversity Institute of Ontario

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


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