5.04.2008

N.Y. Botanical Garden Gets into the DNA Game
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A "Barcode of Life" will transliterate the DNA of trees, according to Deepthi Hajela of the AP who writes...

The New York Botanical Garden may be best known for its orchid shows and colorful blossoms, but its researchers are about to lead a global effort to capture DNA from thousands of tree species from around the world.


The Bronx garden is hosting a meeting this week where participants from various countries will lay the groundwork for how the two-year undertaking to catalog some of the Earth's vast biodiversity will proceed.

The project is known as TreeBOL, or tree barcode of life. As in a similar project under way focusing on the world's fish species, participants would gather genetic material from trees around the world.

A section of the DNA would be used as a barcode, similar to way a product at the grocery store is scanned to bring up its price. But with plants and animals, the scanners look at the specific order of the four basic building blocks of DNA to identify the species.

The resulting database will help identify many of the world's existing plant species, where they are located and whether they are endangered. The results are crucial for conservation and protecting the environment as population and development increases, said Damon Little, assistant curator of bioinformatics at the Botanical Garden and coordinator of the project. (more)

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I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.


by Sgt. Alfred Joyce Kilmer, poet, U.S. 165th Infantry
(deceased 1918, Battle of the Marne)

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