I found this New York Times story about a couple of high school students foray into genetic fingerprinting fascinating on so many levels. Here it is in a nutshell:
. . . In a tale of teenagers, sushi and science, Kate Stoeckle and Louisa Strauss, who graduated this year from the Trinity School in Manhattan, took on a freelance science project in which they checked 60 samples of seafood using a simplified genetic fingerprinting technique to see whether the fish New Yorkers buy is what they think they are getting.
They found that one-fourth of the fish samples with identifiable DNA were mislabeled . . .
As the father of a teenaged woman I know how clever and motivated these young folk can be. There is nothing they cannot do if they set their minds to it. I certainly related to one girl's father who noted this about their field technique: “It involved shopping and eating, in which they were already fluent.”
At a different level, as a consumer of a fair bit of sushi, I'm totally appalled. If you can't trust your sushi-master, who CAN you trust!?!
Finally, the usefulness of the DNA Barcoding Technique, despite its apparent limitations, is pretty impressive. I think that supermarkets should go way beyond just labeling fresh food with the origin. I want a BAR CODE that I can read with a pocket scanner to determine EXACTLY what I'm getting. Those green beans, for instance, what variety are they really?
I'm going to setup a DNA Barcoding system in my garage . . . .