Company developing pioneering wood DNA testing technology

A Singapore-based company is planning to grow its global sales base for its wood DNA testing equipment, which helps identify and track illegally forested wood.

The company, DoubleHelix Tracking Technologies, is so far the first company in the world to have developed and successfully commercialised the wood testing technology. The equipment has already been picked up by a number of key international retailers – including Marks & Spencer and the parent company of B&Q, Kingfisher – and has been hailed by many as a turning point in the fight against illegal logging.

The company has been working on miniaturising the technology, with desktop-sized prototypes of it already on trial. DoubleHelix’s chief scientific officer, Andrew Lowe – who works from a laboratory in the University of Adelaide in South Australia – said that they currently have 14 clients directly using their services, but hope to grow that through the desktop versions.

Jamie Lawrence, the sustainable forest and timber adviser for Kingfisher, said better wood forensics is crucial for the whole timber industry. He explained, “Any retailer worth their salt should not just be thinking about risk, brand protection or even legality. They should be thinking this is a damn good idea.”

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