Forensic Ecology

SureScreen is now able to analyse an unknown sample to determine from what species the sample originates.

The sample you send to us can come from a variety of sources. Faecal, urine, hair, blood, carcass (skin, flesh, bone), semen, unknown material, or plant matter all contain DNA that we can test. The sample should be collected using one of our sterile collection kits that contains a DNA preservative, and can be purchased here. Though not recommended, other kits or sterile consumables may be used.

We can also analyse water samples for a single, target species. When collecting water samples, please use a similar procedure as the Natural England approved collection methods for Great Crested Newts (CGN). This protocol requires specific kits, which can be purchased here.

Please ensure the form in the kit is completed and sent back with the sample. These forms can also be found here.

 

Method

Please follow type-dependent collection instructions found here, and include them with your sample upon sending it back to us.)

The DNA from the sample is extracted, and then amplified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Primers are chosen to best-amplify the DNA of the target species (i.e. universal bat primers are used to preferentially amplify bat DNA over other DNA present in the bat guano). Then the amplified DNA is purified, Sanger sequenced, and analysed against known sequences to assign a species identity.

Once your sample has arrived safely in our laboratory, you’ll receive an automated email confirming receipt and a deadline for when to expect results. Once our work is complete, you will receive a report outlining the results and the methods used.

 

Kits

Animal & Plant Kit. £15.00 exc vat.

Allow collection of fecal, urine, hair, carcass, semen or unknown source samples. The kit includes a pre-paid box to allow for easy transportation back to the laboratory.

Pond Kit. £20.00 exc vat.

Allow collection of pond sample for analysis for a specific target species. User must arrange for delivery of kit back to laboratory. We can arrange this under instruction using our courier service though this will incur a change of £45.00 per delivery.

 

Costs

Standard Service– Results within 10 workings days from sample receipt. £160 exc vat

Fast Track Service– Results within 5 workings days from sample receipt. £260 exc vat

 

Forensic Ecology Investigation

Give us a call or email if you require a more thorough forensic ecology investigation. SureScreen can take the reins for an investigation, this may be especially crucial to ensure the work is carried out independently for the courts or for insurance purposes. Our forensic scientists can visit site, collect samples, photograph to determine the root cause of an issue. A full technical report will be issued with facts, observations, conclusions, professional opinions and photographs. For this work we charge for our time and after initial consultations we will send a non obligation work proposal, costs and turnaround times. Get in touch to see if we can help.

 

 

Target species

Many species of interest have genetic sequences published in databases, so SureScreen can reliably identify a wide variety of unknown samples. We have analysed droppings for Pine Marten, hair samples for Red/Grey squirrel, and swabbed urine samples for identification for insurance claims. Click here for a list of the potential species detectable by the forensic ecology service, this is not an exhaustive list. Please contact us before sending in samples to check that we can analyse for a specific species and that there are no cross reactivities with other similar species.

 

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