Types of scientific testing
DNA extracted from wood can be tested to verify:
Species (a method known as DNA Barcoding)
Geographic origin (a method known as Phylogeography)
Stump (to confirm if a piece of wood has been cut from a specific log or stump, known as DNA Fingerprinting)
DNA is extracted and compared to a reference database, if available for the species in question. In the case of Fingerprinting, DNA from a piece of wood is compared with DNA taken from a log or stump, much like a paternity test.
Trees absorb different levels of chemical isotopes from the air, water and soil depending on the geographic location, which makes this method suitable to verify geographic origin.
Isotope tests identify the ratio of chemicals present in the wood, which are then compared to a reference database, if available for the species in question.
Wood anatomy (macro- and microscopic)
It is possible to determine the genus (and sometimes the species) of timber samples by having an expert examine the macroscopic and microscopic features of the wood structure from multiple angles.
These features are compared to vouchered specimens kept at various laboratories around the world.
For more information on the capabilities and limitations of each methodology, download the fact sheet below.
Scientific testing benefits
We recommend scientific testing as a component of your due diligence system, especially when documented claims of species or origin are deemed unreliable or untrustworthy.
For US importers, testing can provide reliable data with which to provide more accurate Lacey PPQ species declarations.
DoubleHelix provides consultation and recommendations on which testing types, and which laboratories will best meet your requirements.