Introduction to Barcoding

Oh you might be shocked to discover that the barcodes on certain food products in your local grocery store and the scientific barcoding method are not that different from one another for example the barcode on a specific sports drink helps to distinguish it from another drink in that store these two drinks have different barcodes so that a cashier scanner can identify which drink it is and how much it costs in the NGS video we talked about the importance and specificity of DNA sequences you can identify an organism solely based on its DNA in the past scientists had to rigorously study different species under a microscope an attempt to distinguish them by their physical features however this method proved to not always work think of it this way to vastly different species can look the same physiologically under a slide or in a petri dish yeah it is the analysis of their DNA sequences that a scientist and grouping different molecular biodiversity bar coding is a vital tactic used in microbiome analysis you can identify a microbe based on its ribosomal RNA sequence bar coding is simply the addition of a short nucleotide sequence that is attached to an adapter and a 16s rRNA sequence you can identify microbe based on its ribosomal RNA sequence remember the adapters are there because they are used for PCR amplification every 16s sample contains an adapter that has a unique barcode attached however the adapters are not unique think about this say a researcher has ten different soil samples his goal is to study the different genetic makeup of each sample and compare them to one another he would place a different bar code on each sample to help distinguish the samples from one another simply said once the barcodes are attached samples are then pulled together and sequenced all at once this is because the simultaneous sequencing method is extremely cost efficient and provides data in a much more efficient fast way the samples are then separated out by their unique barcodes in preparation for scientific analysis they study the individual samples to help make sense of all the microbial samples which will hopefully lead to inferences about the microbial population to be more specific once all the samples are bar-coded the NGS process begins Ion Torrent is a sequencing technology that can be used for NGS semiconductor chips are essential to the Ion Torrent a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor or CMOS chip is used to store the information and perform a massively parallel sequencing method now the Ion Torrent provides the sequences but it is up to the researchers to make sense of the data so programs like genius and sequencer are used for this exact purpose these programs are linked to a database such as blast which contains DNA sequences that can match to various genes these programs align the sequences from the samples and scan for conserved regions which are stretches of highly similar sequences among the different samples questions like does this specific DNA region match with a specific gene that serves a distinct biological function can be answered over all bar coding is a strategic method used by scientists to aid in the study of next-generation sequencing this organized method has saved many scientists and researchers time and money so the next time you glimpse at the barcode of your favorite sports drink think about the importance of bar coding in the scientific world