DNA Barcodes

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According to Wikipedia DNA barcoding is a taxonomic method that uses a short genetic marker in an organism’s DNA to identify it as belonging to a particular species. The Reason that we have supplied you with this little piece of valuable information and highlighted the DNA barcoding term is that there is much talk around the world wide about it at the moment and we wanted to clarify the differences between DNA barcodes and traditional ones and also detail for you why they (Scientists we presume) use the good old barcode as a metaphor:

Replace nature (just in your mind) with a supermarket and DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid – it is found in the nucleus of a cell) with a barcode on a product in said supermarket and you will begin to see why the scientists had no choice but to use the amazing barcode as a method of explanation. The barcode on a Coke can for example is the same on all Coke cans making it easy to identify and ensuring that you don’t accidentally get charged for a lawnmower at the till. Barcodes are efficient like that; preventing till side beverage catastrophes every second of every day.

In the same way DNA barcodes are the same for the same species and are being put in place to eliminate human error; in the past an experienced professional taxonomist was required to identify biological specimens.  Barcoding quickly solves these problems, because non-specialists can obtain barcodes from tiny amounts of tissue. Are you seeing how the metaphor keeps extending??

Barcodes of all kinds allow non specialists to do special things! That’s pretty much what it all amounts to!




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