Barcoding Bug DNA
Who We Are:
We are a group of UC San Diego students studying biodiversity. Our goal is to catalog the biodiversity of spiders at the Scripps Coastal Reserve of spider species.
We gather spiders from endangered plant species like the Coastal Sage Scrub that are on the reserve. After the spiders are collected they are separated, given identification numbers, and have their photos taken. Once the specimens have been recorded, they have their DNA extracted, amplified, purified, and sequenced. Once sequenced, the specimen has its information entered in the Barcode of Life Database. By entering the sequenced DNA into the database we can figure out what species the spider is, allowing us to analyze the biodiversity of the Scripps Coastal Reserve.
Why Does it Matter?
This research is important because many plant and animal species have contributed to medical development, like the recently discovered properties of Brazilian wasp venom that can be used to target and eliminate cancer cells. We are currently experiencing a mass extinction that could wipe out many species that we do not even know exist and potential medical applications could be lost with them. This work to catalog the biodiversity existing in our own backyard is an important part of the process of conservation – we can only conserve species if we’re aware of their existence!
Your tax deductible contribution in any amount - $1 makes a difference! - will enable us to contribute to conservation here at the Scripps Coastal Reserve. Even simply sharing this project on social media #bugDNA #jointheconservation will help spread the word.
Thank you for supporting our project!