Feeds

Welsh scientists 'barcode' native flora

DNA ID card for 1,143 species

Security for virtualized datacentres

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 say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.