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The Using DNA Barcodes to Identify and Classify Living Things laboratory demonstrates several important concepts of modern biology. During the course of this laboratory, students will collect and analyze sequence data from plants or animals or products from them, use DNA sequences to identify species and explore relationships between species. In addition, the laboratory experiment utilizes several experimental and bioinformatics methods in modern biological research. Students will collect plants, animals, or products in their local environment or neighborhood, extract and purify DNA from tissue or processed material, amplify a specific region of the chloroplast or mitochondrial genome by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and analyze PCR products by gel electrophoresis. They will also use the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) to identify sequences in databases and use multiple sequence alignment and tree-building tools to analyze phylogenetic relationships.
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