City expert’s ‘barcoding’ fights loggers

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POLICE officers from Brazil have recruited a city botanist to help them protect the country’s fragile rainforests from being devastated by illegal logging.

A squad of detectives have arrived in Scotland to meet Professor Pete Hollingsworth, a world expert on horticultural DNA at Edinburgh Royal 
Botanic Gardens, whose innovative techniques in identifying genetic material from plants could help convict the illegal traffickers behind the Amazon’s environmental crime wave.

Botanics science director Prof Hollingsworth has pioneered a “barcoding” process that can analyse plant DNA and determine if it comes from an endangered species.“Many plants are protected from international trade, but it can be extremely difficult to identify whether a product comes from a protected or unprotected species,” he said.