Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic Markers for Tracking Species

25.04.2012
At the supermarket checkout, hardly anybody enters prices manually anymore. Using scanners that can read the barcodes is much faster.
Biologists now want to use a similar procedure for identifying domestic animal and plant species more efficiently. German Barcode of Life (GBOL) is the name of an initiative on which zoologists and botanists are collaborating in Germany. Botanists from the University of Bonn have taken the lead for the flora. The overall coordination of the GBOL Project lies with the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn.

"In the DNA of living beings, we have identified sections as »DNA barcodes« that, while being almost identical within a certain species, differ among the various species," explained Prof. Dr. Dietmar Quandt from the Nees Institute for Biodiversity of Plants at the University of Bonn. "Based on these markers, we can then identify species unambiguously and relatively fast." The result of this analysis resembles a barcode at the supermarket; only that it does not come in black and white, but in four colors, with each one corresponding to one of the four letters of the genetic code.

What counts is only (the genetic) make-up

In classical biological taxonomy, animals and plants are identified by their external characteristics. "It is in species of a genus that resemble each other very closely, such as sedges, that definite identification can be a very long process," reported Prof. Quandt, Speaker for the botanical project within the GBOL Initiative. "In addition, we have to rely on competent experts here, who unfortunately are a dying breed nationally." Fully automated sequencing of DNA, however, allows identifying plants much faster. "Besides, we do not need flowering and complete plants," added Stefanie Winter, one of Prof. Quandt's doctoral candidates. "A tiny fragment, e.g., from a leaf, is sufficient for identifying the species based on its genetic markers."

More than 5,000 plant species to be collected

In the GBOL Project, the scientists first want to create a library of sample material for classifying the species. In a concerted initiative with the natural history museums, nature conservancy organizations and proven experts, specific plant samples will be catalogued throughout Germany. "For this purpose, the natural history collections have proven to be invaluable treasure troves since they are providing us with some of their priceless samples," said Prof. Quandt. The challenge is enormous: There are about 4,000 flowering plants in Germany, as well as 1,300 species of mosses and ferns.

Project to Improve Monitoring of the Environment
Capturing our flora by means of DNA barcodes is intended to make monitoring environmental effects easier: How do individual species respond to climate change? Are certain species being replaced by living organisms that have been imported from other countries? Which species are threatened with extinction? "Given the many threats for life on Earth, environmental monitoring is becoming more important," said Prof. Quandt. "The DNA barcodes can simplify and accelerate such studies considerably."

Botanical Project Supported with 850,000 Euros

The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting the collection of plant DNA barcodes in Germany with approximately 850,000 Euros. This botanical research network also includes the Botanical Garden Berlin (BGBM, Freie Universität Berlin), the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity (University of Münster), the Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History, as well as the Albrecht-von-Haller-Institut für Pflanzenwissenschaften (University of Göttingen). Overall coordination of the GBOL Project lies with the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn.

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Dietmar Quandt
University of Bonn
Nees Institute for Biodiversity of Plants
Ph.: +49 228/733315
Email: quandt@uni-bonn.de

Dr. Stephanie Pietsch
Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig
Museumsmeile Bonn
Adenauerallee 160
D-53113 Bonn
Email: info@bol-germany.de

Johannes Seiler | idw
Further information:
http://www.bolgermany.de/
http://www.uni-bonn.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled
24.04.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

nachricht Scientists generate an atlas of the human genome using stem cells
24.04.2018 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum Technology for Advanced Imaging – QUILT

24.04.2018 | Information Technology

AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice

24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled

24.04.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>