Cincinnati Museum Center is the newest participating member in the Consortium for the Barcode of Life. DNA barcoding involves sequencing a gene common to most of life. These sequences can then be used alongside traditional characteristics as a mark of species identity. Large barcode databases allow for unknown specimens, perhaps from difficult to identify larval or egg stages, to be compared against known sequences permitting species-level identification. Also, DNA barcoding can provide preliminary data that hints at unrecognized evolutionary lineages and thus will prompt more detailed research projects on new species. Cincinnati Museum Center is working with Rockefeller University to identify DNA barcode sequences for Philippine Birds and with the Ohio Biological Survey to build a DNA barcode database for Ohio amphibians. These projects are among the first in the museum's new National Science Foundation funded Molecular Ecology and Systematics Laboratory and the beginning of what hopefully will be a long and productive track record in evolutionary biology.
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