Bicentennial Barcoding

In commemoration of Alabama’s bicentennial year, HudsonAlpha is launching Bicentennial Barcoding, a citizen science project to genetically catalog Alabama’s native plant diversity.

For Bicentennial Barcoding, Alabama high school students will become plant detectives … hoping to discover the hidden treasures of Alabama’s rich plant biodiversity. Institute educators will provide training and classroom resources for high school students and teachers from across the state, in coordination with community partners. With guidance from local experts, students across Alabama will photograph native plants and record the plant’s GPS-based location data. A tiny sample – essentially a hole-punch from one leaf – will then be sent to HudsonAlpha for DNA extraction and preparation of samples for sequencing.

Using a freely available DNA analysis program, students will examine the resulting DNA sequences and look for a match to existing barcodes. Just like barcodes found in the grocery store identify specific consumer products, a “DNA barcode” is a short genetic sequence that uniquely identifies each species. If a sequence is not currently a part of the International Barcode of Life database – a reference library that is a foundation for a DNA-based identification system for all multi-cellular life – the students will have the opportunity to submit the sample for validation and register a new entry in the international database.

Thanks to our participating high schools and community partners!

Community Partner High School Partner County
Donald E. Davis Arboretum Auburn High School Lee
The University of West Alabama Herbarium Demopolis High School Marengo
Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Fairhope High School (x2) Baldwin
Camp McDowell Meek High School Winston
Graham Farm & Nature Center Pisgah High School Jackson
Alabama Nature Center Stanhope Elmore High School Elmore
Birmingham Botanical Gardens Huffman High School Jefferson
The Land Trust of North Alabama Bob Jones High School Madison
The University of Alabama Herbarium Tuscaloosa County High School Tuscaloosa
Cypress Nature Park Park Crossing High School Montgomery
Alabama Master Gardeners Association Dale County High School Dale
Alabama Cooperative Extension System Central High School Russell
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians Flomaton High School Escambia
Lake Guntersville State Park Sardis High School Etowah
The Land Trust of North Alabama East Limestone High School Limestone
The Nature Conservancy Buckhorn High School Madison
The Nature Conservancy Ardmore High School Limestone
Huntsville Botanical Gardens New Century High School Madison
Tuskegee University Booker T Washington High School Macon
Talladega Ranger Station BB Comer High School Talladega
The Nature Conservancy Hoover High School Jefferson
The Nature Conservancy Fyffe High School DeKalb
The Nature Conservancy Leeds High School Jefferson/St.Clair/Shelby
UMS Wright Preparatory School Mobile
Alabama Cooperative Extension System – Lamar County South Lamar High School Lamar
Elkmont High School Limestone
Paul W Bryant Tuscaloosa

Become a Community Partner

We are searching statewide for community partners who are experts in Alabama native plants to partner with their local schools and catalog the biodiversity in our state. Please email [email protected] to learn more about becoming a community partner.

Bicentennial Barcoding is a collaboration between HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and the Alabama Bicentennial, which supports, creates and executes events that commemorate the state’s history. The project is made possible by The Caring Foundation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, the Lyndhurst FoundationVulcan Materials Company Foundation and other philanthropic donations. Additional support is provided by AMSTI.