What is DNA Barcoding?
DNA Barcoding is a program that Niceville High school adapted from the University of Florida. This process allows us to find the exact identity of organisms, rather than finding approximate names using a taxonomic key. DNA barcoding also allows us to identify any unknown, new, or particularly interesting organisms that we find, and get a much more specific classification than we could have gotten otherwise.
The actual process of DNA barcoding requires taking sub samples of organisms that contain genetic material. This material is mixed with several chemicals that help the DNA become compatible with the gel, and the mixtures are run through a DNA sequencer. The DNA is then run through an Electrophoresis tank; which is a slab of gel with positive and negatively charged ends, that contains wells to put the DNA in. Electricity is run through the gel, and leaves an individual pattern of DNA throughout the gel as the DNA migrates through. This shows if the DNA amplification process has been a successful. Afterwards, the samples are sent off to be sequenced.
This is an extremely sophisticated process, and teaches the students a lot about scientific and laboratory procedures. It is a relatively new addition to Niceville High School's NaGISA program, and we hope to improve and expand it in the future.