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Documenting Change in Plants

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In this New York Voices segment, learn how plants can be used to help us learn about climate changes over time. For example, a warming trend can be determined by looking at samples that flower earlier and earlier each year. Scientists also conduct research on plants to find genes that are important for agriculture, food and medicine.

DNA Barcode Library

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Scientists use DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) barcoding to identify many varieties of plants. All living things have a unique DNA structure. While DNA is like a blueprint or recipe for an organism, barcoding is a numeric way of labeling something, similar to the way cashiers at supermarkets scan barcode products for prices. In this New York Voices segment, scientists collect plant materials from the 50-acre forest of the New York Botanical Garden and create unique barcodes to represent each plant_s DNA. This project is the first step in collecting samples to create a universal DNA barcode library of all of the genes of life.