Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Crime Scene Investigates: The Case of the Dead Cow

06.04.2006
Forensic fingerprinting of plant DNA is being investigated as a way to identify offending poisonous plants – a major cause of death in livestock in countries such as Ghana.

Dr Domozoro will describe how he uses plant DNA from the animal’s stomach for forensic fingerprinting on Thursday 6th April at the Society for Experimental Biology’s Annual Main Meeting, Canterbury [session P6]. “Knowing the offending plants will help us to manage the poisoning outbreak by targeting specific treatment routines or withdrawing livestock from infested pastures”, says Domozoro.


A typical Ghanaian peasant livestock farmer providing information on Cleome viscosa in his left hand, known to be poisonous to livestock and Cleome gynandra in his right hand, which is not poisonous but used as a vegetable among the indigenous people, supplied by Charles Domorozo

Since the identifying features of plants are rapidly digested in the stomach of herbivores it is often difficult to tell if and how an animal has been poisoned. Such misdiagnoses are costly to the agricultural industry and also mean that statistics on how widespread is poisoning are inaccurate. The practical application of this technique means that when a cow or sheep dies, if a sample of the rumen contents is taken within a day, it can be stored or used immediately to determine if plant poisoning was the cause of death.

Domozoro uses plant material, extracted from Ghanaian animals within 24 hours of death, as the template to amplify specific DNA sequences to give a plant-fingerprint: this is specific to the species of plant present in the animal’s rumen. Domozoro has affiliations with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Ghana and so the first database he has used to search for a match consists of the known DNA sequences of ~40 poisonous Ghanaian plant species. This only represents a fraction of the known poisonous plants in Ghana and there is a need to keep expanding the database. The technique could be used to identify poisonous plants from any country as long as their DNA sequence is known: “The procedure can be applied anywhere, but the reference database will need to be carefully selected to include the geographical range”, explains Domozoro.

Lucy Moore | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sebiology.org.uk

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Kakao in Monokultur verträgt Trockenheit besser als Kakao in Mischsystemen
18.09.2017 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht Ultrasound sensors make forage harvesters more reliable
28.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>