DNA Barcoding: Verifying Identity of Nursery Plants at JC Raulston Arboretum

Andrew Pais, Ph.D.

  • Tuesday, April 10, 2018 – 10:00 am11:30 am

Learn how scientists prepare DNA samples for DNA barcoding and use the resulting data to determine a plants identity in this hands-on class and demonstration. Andrew Pais will introduce how DNA samples are prepared from plants. Workshop participants will then have the opportunity to analyze sequence data previously prepared from DNA extracts collected from Arboretum plants.

Plant taxonomists have traditionally relied on similarities and differences in plant morphology and anatomy to classify plants into groups based on shared ancestry. With advancements in DNA sequencing technology, researchers are now able to more accurately describe the evolutionary history of the plant kingdom. Moreover, the comparison of small mutations in "barcode genes" can aid in the identification of unknown plants, even when very little plant material is available.

The JC Raulston Arboretum often obtains seed from unknown plants in remote areas. Once brought back and sown, germinating seedlings take many years to develop the fruits and flowers necessary to identify collections to the level of species. Fortunately, the identities of a dozen-and-a-half seedlings at the Arboretum have been predicted as part of a pilot DNA barcoding project, benefitting from students of the Systematic Botany course at NC State.

With DNA sequence data obtained from this class project, Andrew Pais will guide workshop participants on how DNA is extracted from plants and how DNA can be analyzed from any computer. Participants equipped with their own laptops will confirm the identity of unknown plants sampled in the pilot project, and participants will have the opportunity to reconstruct the evolutionary tree of life, which explains how magnolias, maples, oaks, and many other plants are related.

$5.00 for members; $10.00 for nonmembers
Advance registration is required. Please register online using our registration e-store. Registration is limited to 24 people and is considered complete when payment is received.
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Please call (919) 513-7005 for more information about this lecture.