Each product at a supermarket shelf carries a so called “barcode”, which contains information regarding the indentification of this product. Since the identity of an organism is determined by its genetic material, can we come up with a DNA barcode to identify organisms? What if we not only develop such a system but also design a micro DNA analysis instrument that can be powered by our smart phones? First steps of this science fiction like scenario were already taken.
Scientists already cataloged thousands of organisms based on their DNA sequence. Among many advantages of this technology its application in preventing fraud in food industry will certainly help every one if us.
I have written a piece on “Code of Life” for the January issue of Science and Technology magazine of Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Council. http://www.biltek.tubitak.gov.tr/bdergi/yenisayi/index.htm