Monthly Archives: April 2017

Science meets Education

… during the international conference of “Polar Educators International” in Italy, or actually they met. For the scientific input Jana Dömel was invited to lead a workshop on genetic analyses.

During the scientific year 2016*17 Seas and Oceans the aim of the project “MEERwert. Polare Biodiversität.” (The value of the sea. Polar biodiversity.; www.meer-wert.info) is to introduce schools and anyone else who is interested to genetic methods that help us to discover the biological variety of the polar regions. In addition to the already freely available “Extraction box”, that includes all material needed for a DNA extraction of e.g. fish fingers, we designed further worksheets to present at the workshop. (The Extraction box will be send to you on request. Contact: jana.doemel@uni-due.de)

Foto: Jana supports the workshop’s participants with the genetic working sheets, that involve a lot of hands on (the computer) work.

During the conference teachers, but also scientists worked on two working sheet that introduce the basics for DNA analyses and were asked to improve the exercises from a didactical perspective. To start, fish sequences are compared to a database to find out species names. Subsequently, phylogenetic trees are reconstructed to solve the origin and relationships between fish of the so called „cod“ fishes.

We got very positive feedback, which confirmed that our project is of great educational interest.

New Publication – Primer Validation

Yesterday, a new publication by Vasco und Florian entitled “Validation and Development of COI Metabarcoding Primers for Freshwater Macroinvertebrate Bioassessment“has been published in Frontiers in Environmental Science (Link). In the study we demonstrate problems with several of the currently available metabarcoding primers and tested four newly developed COI primers targeting aquatic macroinvertebrates. Our analyses show that the new primers (BF/BR) are highly suitable and amplify very equally the analysed taxa. Most importantly, however, our study shows how important careful design and validation of primers for a certain region, habitat or target taxon group is. With growing data bases there is still much potential for future improvement.