Feeds

Welsh scientists 'barcode' native flora

DNA ID card for 1,143 species

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Welsh scientists are working towards a complete DNA "barcode" record of the country's 1,143 flowering plants.

The Barcode Wales initiative forms part of the Barcode of Life plan to establish a database of standardised IDs for all the world's species, comprising a "very short genetic sequence from a standard part of the genome".

At the helm of Barcode Wales is Dr Natasha de Vere from the National Botanic Garden of Wales. She and Dr Tim Rich from the National Museum of Wales, and Professor Mike Wilkinson from Aberystwyth University, have already extracted and sequenced DNA from fresh or dried examples of all Welsh flora.

The DNA barcode of the spreading bellflower (Campanula patula)The Barcode of Life standard for plants requires scrutiny of two barcode regions, the genes rbcL and MatK, which are "recognised internationally, so that everyone throughout the world uses a standard approach".

The DNA of three specimens of each plant species is sequenced to allow scientists "to spot errors and also to pick up if there is any variation within species in the barcode sequences".

Once the barcode is created (right), it is uploaded to the Barcode of Life Database.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales says there are "many potential applications" for DNA barcodes, including tracking endangered pollinators by identifying pollen on their bodies, understanding "how plant communities are assembled, vital for predicting the effect of climate change", and using "plant fragments found on clothing or at crime scenes" to help forensic investigations.

the spreading bellflower (Campanula patula)The Welsh scientists are already using their work to examine just what's happening to the spreading bellflower (Campanula patula, pictured) "a critically endangered plant that has declined throughout Wales", as Dr de Vere described it to the BBC.

She explained: "We are looking at the DNA of plants now and comparing them to plants 100 years ago by extracting DNA from herbarium specimens."

If the bellflowers have lost genetic variation, indicating that "all breeding individuals live in a similar niche environment", they could be at increased risk from environmental changes.

Once the results of the Barcode Wales project are published in the summer, they'll be used to "establish tailored conservation programmes for Welsh plants".

There's more on the DNA barcoding process here. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.