A new monitoring project involving UCLA researchers and partners aims to take “fake sushi” off Los Angeles diners’ plates. The Los Angeles Seafood Monitoring Project team — which includes university researchers, students, sushi restaurants and government regulators — is working to reduce sushi fraud and the mislabeling of fish.
Since April, scientists along with 80 UCLA students and several others at Loyola Marymount University and Cal State University, Los Angeles, have been purchasing small pieces of sushi — each about the size of a kernel of corn — monthly from 10 restaurants. Back in the laboratory, they extract DNA and analyze the fish.
Each species of fish has a unique genetic sequence. The researchers and the students, who are enrolled in an introduction to marine biology course taught by lecturer Timery DeBoer, study the DNA to distinguish one fish species from another using a tool called DNA barcoding.
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