“This fingerprinting will give us much more precise identification and even tell us where these strains have come from, in terms of family links," said Professor John Day, of SAMS.

“This fingerprinting will give us much more precise identification and even tell us where these strains have come from, in terms of family links,” said Professor John Day, of SAMS.

Labiotech, the European Biotech News Website, reports that scientists at Newcastle University and the Scottish Association for Marine Science have developed a new identification tool for algae, which could have a major impact on how algae are categorized in the future. In the same way that people can be recognized by their fingerprints, the algae’s proteome is now being used as an identification element to catalog them. Using this new approach instead of classical DNA markers and physical characteristics, researchers are discovering new algal sub-groups and species.

Newcastle University and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) were working on thirty-two algae strains that had all previously been catalogued under the same heading by analyzing key DNA markers and physical characteristics. Researchers analyzed the protein ‘fingerprint’ of thirty algae and found that they were actually divided into four distinct sub-groups.