The fight against illegal logging could be taken to the next level if scientists are successful in extracting DNA from wooden furniture to identify its origin.

Double Helix Tracking Technologies (DHTT) is building the world’s first bio-geographic tree database with support from the Singapore government for merbau, one of the most vulnerable hardwoods.

The company has brought together an international team of genetic scientists to build the database and perfect methods to extract DNA from wood products.

“The tree DNA strad or ‘genome’ is 60-100 times longer than a human one,” said Kevin Hill, CEO of DHTT. “It will be possible to match even the degraded DNA found in processed wood product against the database to determine its true origin.”