Thursday, May 25, 2006

Barcoding life on Earth - Natural History Museum

Plans are under way this week to launch a project to genetically identify, essentially barcode, all plants and animals on Earth.
Barcode of Life - the British Flora is part of this global scientific project and the aim is to barcode all British plants, estimated to be between 10,000 and 20,000.
Primula veris, cowslipDifferences between species of plants are usually found by looking at the appearance of leaves, stems, flowers and seeds. For example, some plants can only be identified by their flowers, which is not much help if the plant is not in flower.
Less well-known plants can sometimes only be identified by specialist botanists, so having a global catalogue of plant species will make it much easier for non-specialists, as well as specialists, to access this important information."


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