DIY Bio In The News — 12 September 2013

A Genspace project to go to Alaska and ‘barcode” the plant species there has been fully funded on Microryza, which is the Kickstarter of scientific research. The project, led by Ellen Jorgensen, aims to create a snapshot in time of the flora in Alaska and allow amateur scientists to be part of a meaningful project.

We want to DNA barcode plants of the Alaskan wild with the help of citizen scientists and local Brooklyn students, at the Genspace Community Biolab.

Alaska is home to some of the most hardy yet fragile species of plants. The effects of global warming are all too apparent here. Adding to the Barcode of Life database will help scientists in their ecological surveys, allow amateurs to participate and contribute, and help environmentalists catalog the effects of climate change. In addition, teaching and enabling people to learn barcoding hands on contributes to STEM learning, adult science literacy, and a deeper appreciation of DNA-based technolgy and what it can do to enrich our lives. Genspace, the community lab I co-founded, is uniquely suited to this type of collaborative citizen science. For the past three years we have engaged the public through classes and hands-on projects such as this one. Being actively involved in the research gives people a better understanding of its value.

To find out more, click here.

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Anat Reichman

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