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DNA Testing Helps Students Identify Possible New Roach Species

An article in the New York Times titled "With DNA Testing, Students Learn What’s What in Their Neighborhood" examined some of the findings from a pair of student researchers at Trinity School in Manhattan studying DNA barcoding.

New York Times | December 29, 2009

An article in the New York Times titled "With DNA Testing, Students Learn What’s What in Their Neighborhood" examined some of the findings from a pair of student researchers at Trinity School in Manhattan studying DNA barcoding. That process involves identifying species based on a single gene rather than the compete set of genes in a cell or organism.

The students spent four months collecting 217 samples of organisms in their neighborhoods and found that they were surrounded by traces of 95 species in their daily lives. Most of the conclusions were expected, until they examined a tiny specimen that they had found lying on its back in a West Side apartment.

What first appeared to be a dead American cockroach could be a previously undocumented species of roach. So the two students collected a few more examples, searching the basements of other apartment buildings, and took them to the museum to be analyzed.

The DNA sequence of the specimens showed a 4 percent difference from any of the roughly 65,000 species in the database — which, in genetic terms, is colossal. But further study is required before it can be determined whether the two students came across a new species.

Click here to read the entire story.

Source: New York Times

 

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