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Australian scientists discover DNA pest-detection technique

07-06-2010 15:57 BJT

BRISBANE, Australia, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Molecular biologist Jane Oakey revealed on Tuesday Queensland scientists are using DNA techniques to identify outbreaks of exotic pests and weeds.

DNA tests are used to prove the existence of pest animals rather than looking for the pest itself, she said.

Dr Oakey said often the pests were too small to see or lived in environments that were difficult to get to, such as underneath large boats.

"It's been effective with the Asian green mussels in Cairns," she told Australian Associated Press.

She said scientists tested plankton for the Asian green mussels ' DNA from water samples gathered by dragging a big net around the port.

"The mussels grow extremely quickly ... they make a mess of the bottom of boats and they out-compete the native marine fauna," she said.

Oakey said the DNA pest-detection technique could also be applied to land pests.

Biosecurity Queensland will be using it to detect yellow crazy ants and electric ants, she added.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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