AP Biology Students Experiment with DNA Barcoding

AP Biology Students Experiment with DNA Barcoding Photo

Elwood-John H. Glenn High School students in Mrs. Regan's and Dr. Kamhi's AP Biology classes recently conducted a DNA Barcoding Lab at the Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center.

The students extracted the DNA of different plants and amplified a gene to determine its unique DNA sequence. The sequence was then used as a "DNA barcode" to be loaded into a computer database in order to identify the species. 

DNA barcodes are important as they can be used to catalog unidentified organisms before they disappear due to habitat destruction. Students also learned that DNA barcodes have many applications beyond species identification. For example, DNA barcodes can be used to detect food fraud (seafood mislabeled as a more expensive species) or product fraud (identifying designer handbags vs. knockoffs).