Sharing IdentiGEN experience
Dr. Ciaran Meghan
IdentiGEN, a meat tracing company was founded in 1996 by a team of scientists, as a spinoff from the Institute of Genetics in Trinity College Dublin following research by Ciaran Meghan & Prof. Patrick Cunningham employing SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) technology as a progression of DNA fingerprinting. This technology was subsequently IP protected and registered DNA TraceBack® (www.dnatraceback.com). Meat traceability has enabled processors and retailers to ensure the validity of their product specifications and confirmation of specialty meat such as premium, natural, organic, kosher or halal. Since the 1990’s driver of BSE, meat traceability has become particularly valuable in the context of any challenges to the safety of the meat supply.
IdentiGEN became the first company in the world to deliver and implement an operational and scalable DNA traceability solution for 100% of the fresh beef distributed by a national food retailer. It currently employs 50 people in Europe and North America. With an expectation of strong growth in 2012. IdentiGEN achieved a key stage towards its US market acceptance in October 2007 when its DNA TraceBack system achieved stringent quality testing by the United States Department of Agriculture to gain designation as a USDA Process Verified Program.
IdentiGEN technology core facilities include, UHTP (ultra-high-throughput) DNA genotyping platform that can generate highly robust genotyping results accurately, rapidly and cost effectively.
IdentiGEN develops and optimizes marker panels tailored to each application area and species, such as bovine identity, porcine paternity, poultry breed, fish species etc. The predominant marker system in use by the company are SNP panels, which are amenable to automation and high volume, low cost sample processing. IdentiGEN operates a number of different analytical platforms again designed to meet the specific program requirements, where the balance between numbers of samples and number of markers often governs the most appropriate technology choice. For instance on one system, IdentiGEN may process 5,000 samples using 50 SNP for identity of ~250,000 genotypes/day, or 500 samples with 500 SNP for complex paternity, again ~250,000 genotypes/day.
IdentiGEN maintains its linkages with the Irish and indeed international research community. Currently the company is leading a food safety research project with the University of Alberta, supported by Genome Alberta.
IdentiGEN began commercial operation in Ireland in 1997 and now provides it’s genetic certification systems to clients in Ireland, UK, USA & Canada. It set up a US subsidiary in 2006 and in 2011 secured a multimillion dollar contract with Performance Food Group (PFG), a premium beef supplier, which will see Identigen’s DNA TraceBack system being applied to beef served in 11,000 US restaurants
U2 Trinity Enterprise Centre
Pearse Street, Dublin 2, Ireland