Biotech Updates

Chinese Researchers Start DNA Barcoding Study

September 11, 2009

Scientists at the Kunming Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) will embark on a 15 million RMB (2.2 million USD) research project to study DNA barcodes in plants. DNA barcodes are segments of DNA from a standard and agreed-upon position in the genome that can be used to distinguish organisms at the species level. Using these genetic markers, it will be possible to catalog all life on earth, similar to products in stores labeled with unique barcodes.

"The goal of the research is to find a simple, cheap, and rapid DNA assay that can be converted to a readily accessible technical skill that bypasses the need to rely on highly trained taxonomic specialists for identifications of the world's biota," the CAS said in a press release.

The Academy further noted that DNA barcoding "will help boost our capability in monitoring, understanding and utilizing biodiversity. The technology has extensive research and application prospects in life sciences, medical jurisprudence, epidemiology, medicine research and production, and food quality control."

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