DNA Barcoding: A New Outlook On Species Identification

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DNA Barcoding: A New Outlook On Species Identification

Post by Nordue » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:56 pm

  • I have an intrest in DNA Barcoding. I was delighted to find that the idea has not yet graced the forums, since that means I get to do the honours! I wish to pursue the topic of Biodiversity (and possibly the DNA Barcoding project itself) at the very university mentioned in the article, you see :mrgreen: !

    So without further ado...
What is DNA Barcoding?

In 2003, researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, proposed “DNA barcoding” as a way to identify species. Barcoding uses a very short genetic sequence from a standard part of the genome the way a supermarket scanner distinguishes products using the black stripes of the Universal Product Code. Two items may look very similar to the untrained eye, but in both cases the barcodes are distinct.

Until now, biological specimens were identified using morphological features. In some cases a trained technician could make routine identifications using morphological “keys”, but in most cases an experienced professional taxonomist is needed. If a specimen is damaged or is in an immature stage of development, even specialists may be unable to make identifications. Barcoding solves these problems, because non-specialists can obtain barcodes from tiny amounts of tissue. This is not to say that traditional taxonomy has become less important, but rather that DNA barcoding can serve a dual purpose as a new tool in the taxonomists toolbox supplementing his/ her knowledge as well as being an innovative device for non-experts who need to make a quick identification.

The gene region that is being used as the standard barcode for almost all animal groups is a 648 base-pair region in the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 gene (“CO1”). COI is proving highly effective in identifying birds, butterflies, fish, flies and many other animal groups. COI is not an effective barcode region in plants because it evolves too slowly, but botanists are now close to identifying a combination of gene regions that will serve as a barcode region for plants.

Barcoding projects have four components:

1.The Specimens: Natural history museums, herbaria, zoos, aquaria, frozen tissue collections, seed banks, type culture collections and other repositories of biological materials are treasure troves of identified specimens.

2.The Laboratory Analysis: Barcoding protocols [pdf, 561Kb] can be followed to obtain DNA barcode sequences from these specimens. The best equipped molecular biology labs can produce a DNA barcode sequence in a few hours for as little as $5 per specimen. The data are then placed in a database for subsequent analysis.

3.The Database: One of the most important components of the Barcode Initiative is the construction of a public reference library of species identifiers which could be used to assign unknown specimens to known species.

There are currently two main barcode databases that fill this role:

◦The International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaborative is a partnership among GenBank in the U.S., the Nucleotide Sequence Database of the European Molecular Biology Lab in Europe, and the DNA Data Bank of Japan. They have agreed to CBOL's data standards (pdf; 30Kb) for barcode records.

◦Barcode of Life Database (BOLD) was created and is maintained by University of Guelph in Ontario. It offers researchers a way to collect, manage, and analyze DNA barcode data.

4.The Data Analysis: Specimens are identified by finding the closest matching reference record in the database. CBOL has convened a Data Analysis Working Group to improve the ways that DNA barcode data can be analyzed, displayed, and used.
  • Source: Consortium For The Barcode Of Life http://barcoding.si.edu/whatis.html

    Rather exciting, isn't it?! If not interesting; its a simple concept that is being applied to a massive, if not global scenario. What do you think?

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Re: DNA Barcoding: A New Outlook On Species Identification

Post by WolvesOfTheSeas » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:14 pm

Nice job, it very interesting, thanks for sharing c;
Thanks Wolf Thief for the avvie! I love it! Ill be stalking you c:

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Re: DNA Barcoding: A New Outlook On Species Identification

Post by Nordue » Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:50 pm

  • No problem WolvesOfTheSeas, I am happy to share new things with like-minded individuals!

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Re: DNA Barcoding: A New Outlook On Species Identification

Post by Adalae » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:27 am

That is very interesting! Thank you for posting the article, I'd never heard of that before ^^
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Re: DNA Barcoding: A New Outlook On Species Identification

Post by Nordue » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:03 pm

  • No problem Adalae. I know what you're saying; I only heard of it because of the tour of the university I went on. Otherwise, I probably wouln't have happened upon it until much later!

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Re: DNA Barcoding: A New Outlook On Species Identification

Post by Edme1 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:32 am

Wow, that's very interesting. I might have to search for even more about that! Thanks for sharing, Tonbei! :D
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Re: DNA Barcoding: A New Outlook On Species Identification

Post by WolvesOfTheSeas » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:50 am

So your saying that there new animals with special DNA?
Thanks Wolf Thief for the avvie! I love it! Ill be stalking you c:

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Re: DNA Barcoding: A New Outlook On Species Identification

Post by Nordue » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:38 am

  • Not necessarily new animals WolvesOfTheSeas. DNA barcoding uses a certain piece of DNA in animals to identify them by thier species. The barcode for a giraffe would be different from the barcode of a lizard for example, since giraffes and lizards are two different species. The barcode is different in each kind of animal, just like the barcodes for items at the grocery store are different for each product.

    So if they looked at the DNA of an animal and couldn't find a match to it in the data base, then that animal might belong to a new species! Does that answer your question?

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Re: DNA Barcoding: A New Outlook On Species Identification

Post by WolvesOfTheSeas » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:42 pm

  • Oh Okay I understand and also you dont have to say my whole name^^ Thank you^^
Thanks Wolf Thief for the avvie! I love it! Ill be stalking you c:

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Re: DNA Barcoding: A New Outlook On Species Identification

Post by Nordue » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:10 pm

  • Oh sorry! It's a habit of mine.

    For future refrence, what should I christen you :P ?

    And I am glad my explanation helped. If you have any more questions, I'll do my best.

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