DNA Barcoding is an innovative way of identifying species by utilizing very short standardized DNA fragments of the species being studied. Since we have a distinctively rich biodiversity on our planet, DNA barcoding will allow scientists to match unknown species with previously documented barcodes on an online database. This method also allows taxonomists to easily identify seemingly similar species that are actually quite distinct genotypically instead of going through time-consuming morphological procedures.
Even with a small amount of tissue, scientists are able to extract an animal’s DNA and identify what taxa that animal belongs to. With traditional methods, taxonomists would have to painstakingly analyze the distinct color, shape, size, number of a particular body part, and more.
In a scientific publication by Živa Fišer Pečnikar and Elena V. Buzan, Fišer Pečnikar and Buzan noted that DNA barcoding could provide practical applications in “ecology, conservation biology, biosecurity, and medicine.” But even more so, identification through an efficient way of barcoding could also contribute to “rapid biodiversity studies, biomonitoring including the monitoring of pathogen spread and their associated vectors, forensics, [and] the investigation of the illegal trade of endangered species and their products,” just to name a few.
The implications of DNA barcoding exemplifies major scientific advances. From taxonomists physically studying the intricate body parts of different organisms to now easily comparing extracted tissues to DNA barcodes available on online databases, we see a shift where technology is increasingly becoming a major part of even more scientific fields. Incorporating DNA barcoding into traditional methods of taxonomy will ultimately aid scientists in studying further areas of biodiversity that are currently unknown, as well as discovering more ways science can beneficially affect the lives of the population.