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Course Description

DNA barcoding in green gradient

Introduction to DNA Barcoding will provide students with a basic understanding of DNA-based approaches for species identification and discovery. Students will have the opportunity to explore the historical framework for species identification to learn why DNA barcoding represents an advance. The program will then proceed into explorations of barcode workflows and culminate in an overview of applications.

The course units will cover basic knowledge of genetics necessary to understand the method and the choice of particular molecular markers as standards for different taxonomic groups. This will also include a unit on analysis and interpretation of results. Several units will showcase the different applications of DNA Barcoding with a focus on socio-economic issues. Furthermore, the benefits for basic research especially in the fields of taxonomy, ecology, and evolution will be explored.

Designed For

This course would be of interest to researchers, educators, government regulatory staff, graduate students, forensic staff, lab technicians, museum collection staff etc.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Describe and comprehend the genetic background of DNA Barcoding, and evaluate potential technical challenges;
  2. Identify species by performing database queries with common databases and interpretation of results;
  3. Critically evaluate studies that utilized DNA based taxonomy;
  4. Develop skills to make informed decisions about molecular marker choice and laboratory needs; and
  5. Synthesize knowledge and effectively communicate about DNA Barcoding for grant proposals and interaction with policymakers.

Course Topics

Foundations of DNA Barcoding

  • The state of biodiversity science
  • The taxonomic impediment
  • The short history of a discipline
Community standards and best practices
  • The importance of standards
  • The markers of choice and their specifics
  • Specimen preparation and laboratory workflows
DNA Barcode analytics
  • Data repositories (BOLD, INSDC databases)
  • Methods for species identification by querying data repositories
  • Tree building methods and sequence analysis
DNA Barcoding and Taxonomy
  • Voucher specimens
  • Integrated taxonomy
  • Cryptic species
Applied DNA Barcoding I (Ecology, Conservation Biology & Evolution)
  • DNA Barcoding in ecology
  • How DNA Barcoding can aid in Conservation biology
  • The evolution of a gene
Applied DNA Barcoding II (Food safety, Pest and Health Management, Invasives)
  • Do you really know what you eat? DNA Barcoding for food and drug safety
  • Detection of agricultural pests and disease vectors
  • DNA Barcoding in early-warning systems concerning invasive species
Applied DNA Barcoding III (Biosurveillance, Habitat Monitoring)
  • Species inventories
  • DNA Barcoding of indicator species
  • Long term monitoring utilizing modern genetics
Future trends in DNA Barcoding
  • Next generation sequencing
  • Environmental DNA detection
  • Miniaturization and mobile devices

Sample Careers

Researchers, educators, government regulatory staff, graduate students, forensic staff, lab technicians, museum collection staff, and related fields will gain practical knowledge and skills in DNA Barcoding and species identification and discovery.

Additional Requirements

Minimum high school leaving certificate or secondary school diploma with biology credits.

Assessment

Assessment Item Weight
Quizzes (2 x 10%) 20%
Discussions (3 x 10%) 30%
Assignments (5 x 10%) 50%
Total 100%

Sponsors

College: Department of Integrative Biology
Department: Biodiversity Institute of Ontario

*Course details are subject to change.

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