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DNA-based Species Identification

Our laboratory can assist with the detection or identification of species from biological samples (droppings, hair, plant, carcass etc.).

From fish to mammals and from plants to fungi get in touch to see how we can help with your species ID requirements.

Biological Species ID

Send us a biological sample and we’ll tell you the species that it is from using molecular techniques such as PCR, qPCR, DNA sequencing and Bioinformatics.

Sample Types
Plant tissue, hair, droppings, carcass, fresh feather/eggshell or an unknown source. Order your sample collection kit here.

Analysis
As biological matter is predominantly one species, we can utilise genetic sequencing, therefore we can identify the majority of species.

  • Standard     £90 per analysis    10 working days
  • Fast Track   £120 per analysis   5 working days

All prices ex. VAT. The cost of analysis is invoiced to your account once the results are made available. Note: for the first order on new customer accounts the cost of analysis is required to be paid upfront.

In the past, we have identified…
From faeces bats, mice, otters, pine martens, stoats, all sorts of bird species and even brown bears! From hair: badgers, dogs, cats, rabbits, hare, squirrels. We have also worked on a number of wildlife crime and insurance claim cases analysing samples with origin unknown including the identification of cat vs. human urine deposits, fungi spores and black rat faeces. See more target species below!

Biological Samples

Biological Samples

Target Species & Case Studies

Bat ID & Sexing

Bird ID & Sexing

Fish ID

Microscopic Examination

Trees, Shrubs & Plants


Many invasive and ecologically important plants can be difficult to identify, particularly at times of the year when they are not flowering. Our plant identification service uses molecular techniques including PCR and DNA sequencing to determine the origin of your plant material down to the species* or genus level. Important for insurance, mortgage providers, environmental agencies as well as ecologists in plant conservation.

(*note: due to hybridization in some flowering plants, or extremely high genetic similarity in some closely related species, it may not always be possible to obtain a definitive species level identification).

  • Sample type: leaf, flower, root, bud.

Common targets include Japanese knotweed, Giant hogweed, water primrose and Himalayan Balsam.

Read our whitepaper here.

Trees, Shrubs & Plants

Bees, Wasps & Hornets


We are now able to ID bee, wasp and hornet carcasses, cocoons and other biological material. Pictured here from left to right is the cocoon, the pupa which was inside the cocoon and the meconium (the waste product of the larvae) of an Asian hornet which we were able to confirm using DNA testing, as well as identify honey bee DNA within their meconium.

Asian hornets are non-native to the UK and are highly effective predators to our native insects including honey bees. They were accidentally introduced in France in 2004 and have since spread to a number of European countries. Since 2016 there have been 22 confirmed sightings in the UK, with 2 so far in 2022.

Bees, Wasps & Hornets

Pine Marten

Pine Martens can be difficult to track in the wild, but using evidence of their presence such as droppings can be useful in determining their location. Read our white paper here.

Otter

Using evidence left behind by otters we can identify their presence in an ecosystem using molecular methods.

Water Vole

Water voles can be detected using non-invasive sampling if droppings are present. (Note: eDNA (water sample) analysis is currently under development for water voles).

Squirrel

Our Forensic Ecology service can determine the presence of either red or grey squirrels from an ecological sample such as hair or droppings.


Buy Your Kit (Optional)


Our Forensic Ecology Sample Collection kits contains everything required to collect a single biological sample for species ID analysis at SureScreen Scientifics. Each kit comes with a freepost return to our laboratory for fast and reliable analysis. See below for full description and a list of accepted sample types.

  • Forensic Ecology Sample Collection Kit – £15.00 per kit ex. VAT

You can choose to use your own sterile consumables to collect your own samples. If you opt for this, please ensure that samples are not squashed during transit and you still fill in a biological sample collection form here.

Buy Your Kit (Optional)

Returning Your Samples For Analysis

If you have purchased our sample collection kit, the return address is on the box along with prepaid return delivery. Simply secure the box with tape and post it in your nearest royal mail postbox.

Alternatively, please post your samples in a padded envelope to:

SureScreen Scientifics
Morley Retreat
Church Lane, Morley
Derbyshire
DE7 6DE

Please ensure that samples are not squashed during transit and that you still fill in a biological sample collection form (available below).


DNA

Species not listed?

The species listed above are the routine targets we look for, however there are hundreds more species we can detect. Get in contact to see if the assay for your target species has already been developed, and if it has we’ll be able to detect it for you.

Note: For non routine targets we may need to buy the primers specifically for you, this may take a few days and may incur the cost price of the primers depending on the number of analyses required.

 

Assay not yet developed?

If an assay hasn’t already been developed, appoint our experts to design one for you using our Assay Design Service.

FAQs

Do I need to use a SureScreen Scientifics sample collection kit?

How long can I keep the kit before (and after) sampling, is there an expiry date?

How many samples can I collect with each kit?

When can I collect a sample?

Do I need to collect a reserve sample?

How do I return my kits to the laboratory?

Can I send you another company’s kit to analyse?

How do I dispose of my unused kits?

Do I need a purchase order (PO) when returning my kits?

My result wasn’t what I expected, can you repeat the analysis?

What methods do you use for the analysis?

Where can I find my results?

How do I interpret the results?

Why was my result inconclusive?