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All species have a characteristic DNA and a small, standardized piece of it can be used for identification. We call this the DNA barcode of the species. In much the same way that barcodes keep track of goods in a shop, we are now creating a library of DNA barcodes to keep track of species. This library will be a useful tool for research and management of biological diversity, food safety, border control and surveillance of invasive species, for instance.
DNA fragments can be visualized as four-colour barcodes, with one colour for each part of the genetic code. The composition and order of the lines differ between species. The pattern of the multipurpose scarf in the photos make up the first 48 lines of the human (Homo sapiens) DNA barcode.
To see where the scarves end up, we’ve created an Instagram hashtag: #mydnabarcode