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What is fish barcoding?

This is Science Today. There's a movement in marine biology to build a public library of fish barcodes, which is similar to the FBI's database of criminal fingerprints. Marine biologist Phil Hastings of the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, says fish barcoding is a technique using molecular sequence data to identify samples of certain species by matching the genetic sequence in that sample to a known genetic sequence.

Hastings:        It's analogous to a supermarket barcode in that it's a very simple way to make an identification, but it's different in that it's unique to each species and each species has a unique sequence for a certain gene of choice.

Narrator:        Fish barcoding will help resolve longstanding debates in marine science and can also shed light on the health and future conservation of fish populations.

Hastings:        So, we archive here in the collection the specimen that the tissue sample was taken from. We also archive the tissue samples here in the collection and those are used for a variety of genetic studies by researchers around the world.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.