Animal Species Identification

Thanks to modern molecular biological methods ifp is in a position to identify a large variety of game and fish, along with many other species. Identification is done based on specific DNA sections, with the help of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This allows us to determine the animal species processed in a particular meat product and, if required, to analyse the composition of the product’s animal share. It is also possible to test for specific species, e.g. deer or tuna, or to identify species in an unknown sample by amplifying larger sections of the genes and performing subsequent sequencing.

Real-time PCR

Based on specific DNA fragments, so-called primers, a DNA section of the species to be detected is selectively amplified and then determined by real-time fluorescence measurement. At ifp the following parameters are detected quantitatively and most of them also qualitatively using real-time PCR systems:


  • venison (red deer, fallow deer, roe deer) as a group or individually
  • duck, (domestic duck Anas platyrhynchos; Barbarie duck Cairina moschata),
  • goose, chicken, turkey, ostrich and poultry in general
  • dog, cat
  • rabbit and rodents (mouse, rat)
  • horse, donkey
  • beef, sheep, goat and ruminants in general
  • pork
  • mammals in general

Fish / sea animals

  • fish in general
  • channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)
  • shark catfish (Pangasius hypophthalmus)
  • Pangasius bocourti
  • tuna
  • dolphin


In order to identify unknown tissue samples based on sequencing, we start by subjecting a primer pair with binding locations that have a highly conserved base sequence to PCR.  This means that the same primers bind to gene sections of a large number of different, also distantly related organisms and serve as the starting point for an unspecific PCR. The PCR product (amplificate) obtained in this way and comprising up to 2,000 base pairs can be sequenced. In each case it has the same end sequences defined by the primers, yet in between there are variable sections, which are compared with data in a database, hence allowing identification of the species.

ifp offers biological origin identification of tissue for

  • mammals and birds (e.g. antelope, parrot etc.)
  • fish (e.g. blue fin tuna, sole, tilapia etc.)

Identification by means of sequencing is applicable in the case of pure samples only, not in the case of mixtures.