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Sequencing shark DNA

Wellington College teacher Andrea Shaw spent 2006 at NIWA as a New Zealand Science, Mathematics & Technology Teacher Fellow.

She met up with budding film directors, Michael, Hugo, Callum, Carlos and Ben, all Year 10 students at Wellington College. Her work with sharks quickly grabbed their attention – and the viewfinders in their cameras.

The shark work is part of the very ambitious Fish-Bol project, an international effort to collect DNA barcodes for all fish species. This will mean that any fish, or part of a fish (such as a fish fillet), can be identified by DNA analysis.

The aim is to benefit conservation efforts by enabling fish to be more easily tracked, for example in fishing quotas and bycatch. It will also make consumer fraud, where high-value fish products are substituted with ones of less value, more easy to prove.

Fish-Bol is part of the ‘Barcode of Life’ project. It began in July 2005 and is expected to take five years.

To find out more, go to http://barcoding.si.edu/AllFish.htm.

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