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DNA barcoding is a technique used to identify the species to which a specimen belongs, using the genetic sequence of a conserved gene or genes. The genetic sequence of suitable genes is similar enough within a species but different enough between species to allow for consistent and confident identification. Such genetic sequences are often called DNA barcodes.

The identification efficiency of different DNA barcodes varies between taxonomic groups, and NatureMetrics uses the most effective barcoding regions for each taxonomic group of interest.


NatureMetrics DNA Barcoding Kits are optimised for the non-invasive collection of DNA from specimens which require identification. It does not require euthanasia and can also be used on dead specimens that have been suitably stored. This kit can be used to collect DNA from the following taxonomic groups:

Note: In some instances, there is not sufficient differentiation of barcoding sequences between species to provide a specimen identification to species level. In such instances, the sample will be identified to the lowest possible taxonomic rank (genus, family, etc.)

Note: DNA can be collected from other taxonomic groups using this kit, however the safe deployment of swab kits may require the presence of a veterinarian or other trained professional. To discuss the suitability of swab-based DNA collection approaches for your taxa of interest, please contact a NatureMetrics specialist



A NatureMetrics DNA Barcoding Kit contains the following components:

2x barcoded forensic swabs in collection tubes

1x pair of nitrile gloves

1x barcoded Sampling Datasheet

1x specimen safety bag


Once a suitable specimen has been obtained, following these steps will allow for the quick and easy collection of a high-quality DNA sample.

1. Put on gloves provided to minimise the risk of contaminating the specimen with your own DNA or with DNA from other specimens.

2. Position the specimen carefully to avoid causing injury.

3. Remove one of the swabs from the bag, twist the lid on the tube to break the seal and then draw the shaft out of the tube. It is important that the swab does not come into contact with anything other than the specimen.

4. For fish: Gently rub the swab 15 times along the body of the specimen from the nostril area to tail, just above the lateral (centre) line, rotating the swab while taking the sample.

4. For amphibians: Gently rub the swab 5 times over each limb, from body to foot, and 5 times down the ventral (back) side of the body of the specimen. Rotate the swab while taking the sample.

5. Return the swab to the tube and push cap on firmly.

6. Repeat sample collection on the same specimen using the second swab.

7. Use the app to submit your sampling data and photos of your specimen .

8. Complete the Sampling Datasheet.

9. Place collected swabs into the specimen safety bag .

Note: Swabbing procedure varies depending on the taxonomic group being sampled.

10. Place specimen safety bag (containing swabs) and Sampling Datasheet into the resealable outer bag that your kit arrived in.

11. Store the swabs at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and moisture prior to shipping.

12. For UK sample returns, simply use the standard postal service with recorded delivery. Send to: NatureMetrics, 1 Occam Court, Surrey Research Park, Guildford, GU2 7HJ, United Kingdom.

13. For international sample returns, contact your NatureMetrics Business Development Manager or email our specialist team at for instructions on how to return your samples safely. It is very important that you follow our specific procedures for sample return from outside the UK in order to comply with customs regulations. We are only able to analyse samples that are returned using the correct NatureMetrics logistics procedure.

Disclaimer: Safe sample collection is the responsibility of the Client. NatureMetrics accepts no liability associated with the use of the kits and sample collection. The Client is solely responsible for the quality of the samples and the representativeness of the samples received by NatureMetrics. The information contained within the Final Report provided by NatureMetrics to the Client is not intended to be advisory, it is informational. Interpretation and decisions are the sole responsibility of the Client. NatureMetrics does not accept any liability whatsoever for any reliance placed on any information contained within, or any use that may be made of, the Final Report by the Client. Please read the full limitation of liability statement in the Terms and Conditions.

Note: Swabs should be received back at the lab within 2 weeks of sample collection. If this is not possible then we recommend freezing the swabs as soon as possible after sample collection until the samples are posted to NatureMetrics. Cold shipping is not required.

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