Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Maine Barcode of Life Project

I have talked about this repeatedly - DNA Barcoding lends itself to education at various levels. Not only is the concept relatively simple to understand, but is also multidisciplinary and modular by nature. Schools, colleges and universities start embracing it more and more although the latter could do more for my taste. Very often it is independent organisations that take up the idea and offer it to students and/or teachers. A good example are our friends from Coastal Marine Biolabs in Ventura, California. 

Another rather new organisation that offers inroads to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education is iXplore, an independent, nonprofit organization with the goal to encourage students to pursue STEM degrees, to promote STEM awareness in the state of Maine, thereby expanding the skilled workforce supporting STEM-dependent business sectors.

Program participants contribute to the Maine Barcode of Life project using DNA Barcoding while working in a college biochemistry lab at the University of New England. Participants are introduced to molecular biology, ecology, and evolution concepts and develop lab skills such as centrifugation, electrophoresis, and polymerase chain reaction. Students learn to use computational biology and bioinformatics to analyze their DNA barcodes with tools embedded in the BOLD-Student Data Portal

This is a great trend which I hope will continue and include more fields of science. The more hands on the better and a little fun doesn't hurt either.

All photos were 'stolen' from Deborah Landry who runs iXplore.

There's excitement in the air with the sense of doing real science! I never thought I would be able to do this in high school.

1 comment:

  1. Dirk:
    What a surprise to find a post about the Maine Barcode of Life Project! We launched this project in 2013 and recently, with a generous donation from the Maine Community Foundation Rine-Thompson fund, we are broaden student participation in the Portland, Maine region. Thanks for the shout out!!
    Debbie Landry