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Center for Genetic Identification (CGI)

The Center for Genetic Identification is assignment based and offers DNA-analyses to agencies and organisations.

Med DNA kan både djur- och växtarter identifieras. Illustration: Erik Ersmark

Both plant and animal species can be identified from DNA. Illustration: Erik Ersmark

The Center for Genetic Identification accepts projects from professionals working in conservation, species management, customs, food control and research, among others. We primarily offer help to genetically identify from which plant or animal a specific objects derives.

Examples of objects:

  • Faeces/scats
  • Clothing or objects made from fur or skin
  • Hair or fur from animals
  • Bone or teeth, including subfossil material
  • Plant matter
  • Jewellery
  • Food
  • Eggs

We also offer more extensive and detailed identifications. It is for instance possible to determine several species from composite materials, like food products or environmental samples (eDNA).

Additionally, we can determine if two different samples originate from the same individual, which for instance can be applied to faeces or fur.

We have conducted several population surveys and can perform tracing of individuals as well as estimations of entire populations.

CGI har tillgång till moderna DNA-laboratorier och kunnig personal. Foto: Erik Ersmark

CGI has access to modern DNA-laboratories and experienced staff. Photo: Erik Ersmark

Resources and equipment

The Center for Genetic Identification was established in 2013 at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. Its location is favourable, with close connections and access to expert knowledge in DNA, zoology, botany and a reference library, dnanyckeln.seexternal link. The museum further houses one of the world's largest natural history collections, abound with reference material.

On site are modern state-of-the-art laboratories, equipped for doing analyses of both fresh and historic material. For subfossil samples, there is also a separate laboratory, specifically designed for extracting and working with degraded (ancient) DNA.

Extraktion av DNA. Foto: Staffan Waerndt

Extraction of DNA. Photo: Staffan Waerndt

Examples of previous assignments

Here are a few examples of results from assignments given to CGI over the last couple of years:

  • Species identification of fish eggs. Among the species were Leuciscus idus and Aspius aspius (2015).
  • Identification of bat (Plecotus auritus) from droppings (2015).
  • Species identification from feathers, which proved to originate from jackdaw (Corvus monedula) (2016).
  • Genetic identification of otter from foot prints in snow (2020).
  • Investigation into the origin of a frog population. DNA results indicated an origin in eastern Europe (2016).
  • Estimation of the brown bear population size in Västerbotten. The study is carried out in collaboration and SVA. Individuals are identified from scat samples (2019).
  • A number of eDNA projects identifying fishfauna and musselfauna from water samples.

The use of DNA in environmental monitoring

To inspire and increase knowledge on DNA analyses, the museum is now launching a project about environmental DNA - Miljöövervakarens DNA-skola (for now only available in swedish).The intent is to create a forum for surveyors, to learn more and to be able to pose questions directly to researchers.


For further information you are welcome to e-mail Centrum för genetisk identifiering (CGI) or call +46 (0)8-519 54 284.

Environmental certification

The museum is certified according to ISO 14001:2004. This implies high standards for all activities performed in the laboratories used by the Center for Genetic Investigation.

The Swedish Museum of Natural History is one of few goverment institutions with such a high standard set for its environmental commitment.

More on the museum's environmental management