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DNA Barcoding

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Shockwave Flash
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Description This is a two-part animation. “DNA Barcoding, Part 1,” provides an overview of how DNA barcoding of animals can be used to identify an unknown sample or discover a new species. Cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) is found in the mitochondria as part of the electron transport chain. The COI gene is used for DNA barcoding. Just like a barcode on an item in a grocery store identifies a product, a DNA barcode (determined by DNA sequencing) is used to identify species. Part 1 run time: 1 minute, 40 seconds. “DNA Barcoding, Part 2” details how small tissue samples are used for DNA barcoding, including a review of the laboratory and bioinformatics steps used in barcoding: DNA purification, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), agarose gel electrophoresis, DNA sequencing and analysis, and DNA sequence identification using the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) or the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD). Part 2 run time: 4 minutes, 15 seconds. Animation is closed captioned.
Type of Resource Animation, Tutorial
Format Shockwave Flash - SWF
Technical Note This is FlashTM (.swf) animation. The animation should load directly from the URL. If you have difficulty loading the animation and are prompted to open the animation with another program, select an internet browser from your program list (such as Internet Explorer).
Dina Kovarik, Northwest Association for Biomedical Research
Jeanne Chowning, Northwest Assocation for Biomedical Research
Sandra Porter, Digital World Biology
Development Date October 22, 2012
Grade/Age Levels High School lower division (Grades 9-10)
High School upper division (Grades 11-12)
Undergraduate lower division (Grades 13-14)
Undergraduate upper division (Grades 15-16)
Informal Education
National Science
Educational Standards
Biological evolution (9-12), The cell (9-12)
Learning Time <=1 hour
Language English
Type of Review Reviewed By LifeSciTRC Board
Review Date October 31, 2012
Funding Source National Science Foundation
Suggested Use

In the undergraduate organismal biology course my students all study Taxonomy and Systematics before comparing the different phyla of living things.  This short tutorial shows how DNA sequences can be used to identify and name species.  This resource can be used as a comparison of traditional morphology based taxonomy that most textbooks cover with the current use of "hidden" DNA characters.  I would suggest pairing this animation with a worksheet where students count and compare DNA differences (from Genbank) for between 4 or 5 organisms and then have them use their data to determine the relatedness of the species.  It would be possible to have them create a phylogenetic tree of the relatedness (who has the most shared DNA/least shared DNA).  I haven't used the resource in my teaching yet but will comment again when I get feedback from the students!

Jennifer Trusty, Georgia Perimeter College

This flash animation describes the process of DNA barcoding using the COI gene of mtDNA, from finding a piece of tissue from an unknown sample and extracting DNA from it to comparing the DNA sequence using an online database (Genbank). It allow student to see how each step would be carried out. I have not used the animation in the classroom yet, but I think it would be applicable in any HS Biology classroom to show how DNA sequences can be used to answer a specific scientific question.
Raena Cota, New Mexico State University


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