The Barcode Blog

A mostly scientific blog about short DNA sequences for species identification and discovery. I encourage your commentary. -- Mark Stoeckle


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DNA barcoding a hardy urban denizen

In 2009, high school students found novel DNA barcode types in American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) in New York City (DNAHouse). Hoping to learn more about this feared and despised yet ineradicable urban denizen, we are starting a National Cockroach Project. A quick summary so far:

What     High school students and other citizen scientists collecting and helping analyze American cockroaches using DNA barcoding.

Why      Genetic diversity is a window into evolution and patterns of migration. American cockroaches originated in Africa and hitchhiked around the world on commercial goods. This project asks:

  • Do American cockroaches differ genetically between cities?
  • Do US genetic types match those in other parts of the world?
  • Are there genetic types that represent undiscovered look-alike species?

How      To participate, collect a cockroach!

What you need   

  • American cockroach (dead)
  • Specimen label with collection location, date
  • Mailing materials (form with instructions on NCP home page)

What you get

  • Thrill of scientific discovery using DNA
  • Cool, icky topic to talk about with friends
  • DNA sequences you can analyze to study evolution

For more information including how to track down and identify an American cockroach, see NCP home page. I hope you will find this project fun and participate in the crowd-sourced collection effort!

 

This entry was posted on Friday, December 14th, 2012 at 3:39 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “DNA barcoding a hardy urban denizen”

  1. Program for the Human Environment – What’s New » What's New Archive » National Cockroach Project Says:

    [...] The DNAHouse project alerted us to the value of barcoding a New York City cockroach…and now we announce the initiation of the National Cockroach Project. [...]

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About this site

This web site is an outgrowth of the Taxonomy, DNA, and Barcode of Life meeting held at Banbury Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, September 9-12, 2003. It is designed and managed by Mark Stoeckle, Perrin Meyer, and Jason Yung at the Program for the Human Environment (PHE) at The Rockefeller University.

About the Program for the Human Environment

The involvement of the Program for the Human Environment in DNA barcoding dates to Jesse Ausubel's attendance in February 2002 at a conference in Nova Scotia organized by the Canadian Center for Marine Biodiversity. At the conference, Paul Hebert presented for the first time his concept of large-scale DNA barcoding for species identification. Impressed by the potential for this technology to address difficult challenges in the Census of Marine Life, Jesse agreed with Paul on encouraging a conference to explore the contribution taxonomy and DNA could make to the Census as well as other large-scale terrestrial efforts. In his capacity as a Program Director of the Sloan Foundation, Jesse turned to the Banbury Conference Center of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, whose leader Jan Witkowski prepared a strong proposal to explore both the scientific reliability of barcoding and the processes that might bring it to broad application. Concurrently, PHE researcher Mark Stoeckle began to work with the Hebert lab on analytic studies of barcoding in birds. Our involvement in barcoding now takes 3 forms: assisting the organizational development of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life and the Barcode of Life Initiative; contributing to the scientific development of the field, especially by studies in birds, and contributing to public understanding of the science and technology of barcoding and its applications through improved visualization techniques and preparation of brochures and other broadly accessible means, including this website. While the Sloan Foundation continues to support CBOL through a grant to the Smithsonian Institution, it does not provide financial support for barcoding research itself or support to the PHE for its research in this field.