The Reporter
Issue 498, 5 May 2004
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Spinout uses DNA to identify guilty trees

Prof Phil GilmartinA new Leeds spinout company is using DNA to identify trees causing subsidence – a method that could save the insurance industry millions of pounds a year.

Subsidence is a major issue for insurers, with more than 10,000 cases each year costing £300 million. The Consumers Association estimates that about 70 per cent of all cases are caused by tree roots. Trees causing subsidence need to be identified to determine ownership for insurance claim purposes and to prevent further damage by removing the offending tree.

The current method for identifying trees involves the microscopic analysis of root samples. However, this is labour-intensive and cannot give 100 per cent accurate identification.

But spinout company Identi-Tree uses specialised plant DNA profiling techniques. Each individual species has a unique genetic blueprint and test samples are compared against Identi-Tree’s extensive library of DNA sequences.

Identi-Tree is based on the expertise of professor of plant molecular genetics, Phil Gilmartin (left), who said: “Identi-Tree’s unique approach employs proven gene analysis tools that offer significant advantages in accuracy, reproducibility and reliability.”

See press release here.


Page owner: | Updated: 10/5/04


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