The building blocks of food genomic analysis

In an insightful article from Eurofins Genomics’ Nina Constantine, New Food finds out what happens to food samples in its genomics lab.

Ever wondered what happens to food samples when they get sent for genomic analysis? As we traverse this brief overview, you can see all the departments involved in the illustrative image (see Figure 1) that make up our lab.

The first step is sample reception and DNA extraction; this takes place in our ‘Applied Genomics’ department. Depending on the kind of analysis the food sample is destined for (Sanger, NGS, RT-PCR, etc), generally several regions of the mitochondrial genome, also known as mtDNA (sometimes nuclear DNA is also used), are amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using universal or specific/special primer pairs. Special primers are necessary when looking for exotic species. DNA extraction requires experience and trained lab technicians to extract the highest quality DNA needed for analysis.