|An Asian black bear|
It has been recently reported that researchers from Murdoch University have found potentially toxic ingredients in samplings from traditional Chinese medicine with the help of a new DNA sequencing technology. The samples were found to contain allergens which the consumers would not be aware of because they were not included on the labels. Among the traces of endangered species discovered in the samplings included the Asian black bear and the saiga antelope. Research leader and Australian Research Council Future Fellow Dr. Michael Bunce stated that the findings prove that consumers "need to be aware of the legal and health safety issues before adopting them as a treatment option." He further added that they found 68 different plant families in the samplings, including those of the genus Ephedra and Asarum which contain chemicals that are toxic if wrong dosage is taken. The Ephedra plants were found to have stimulating effect on the nervous system, while the Asarum plants were recently discovered to be connected to a type of bladder cancer.
|A saiga antelope|
I feel that the discoveries made by this research team are clear indications about the dangers of the illegal wildlife trade. It is not just the plight of the animals that the world should know about, but also the potentially harmful side-effects of the various body parts of these animals can have on the consumers. Thanks to this new DNA sequencing technology, most consumers will be kept safe and the illegal trade of animals will be ground to a halt. In addition to that, Dr. Bunce and his team are planning to use a similar approach to study herbal medicine. For me, the use of herbal medicine would likely be a best alternative to consuming body parts of endangered species. However, I also believe that inspecting such samplings is crucial for the safety of consumers all over the world.
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