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DNA Detectives: Outreach Activity Teaching Students to Identify Fish Eggs Using DNA Barcoding

    Authors: Makenzie Kerr1,*, Mya Breitbart1
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    Affiliations: 1: University of South Florida, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 15 June 2020 Accepted 17 December 2020 Published 29 January 2021
    • ©2021 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, 140 7th Avenue South, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701. Phone 727-851-1883. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. January 2021 vol. 22 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v22i1.2191
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    Abstract:

    Fish are an important resource worldwide and their management requires a combination of strategies, including the protection of spawning areas. However, the identification of fish early life stages, especially fish eggs, is challenging due to the lack of distinguishing morphological features. Here we present an outreach activity, named “DNA Detectives”, that allows students to discover the method of DNA barcoding, a technique used by scientists to determine which species of fish are spawning in a given location. Students will learn about fish reproduction strategies, methods used by scientists for collecting fish eggs, and how to identify these eggs using their genetic code, or DNA sequence. During this activity, students receive a short lesson about fish reproduction and fish egg collection before performing their own DNA Detective work by choosing a fish egg, deciphering its genetic code to identify the species it belongs to, learning about the fish through a coloring page, and earning a sticker reward. The DNA Detectives activity is designed for grades 2-5, but has been used in a wide range of settings such as public science festivals and the Great American Teach-In. This activity is also available to remote learners via a website (https://sites.google.com/view/dnadetectives/home).

References & Citations

1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States 2014 The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States
2. Tveterås S, Asche F, Bellemare MF, Smith MD, Guttormsen AG, Lem A, Lien K, Vannuccini S 2012 Fish is food—the FAO’s fish price index PLOS One 7 5 e36731 10.1371/journal.pone.0036731 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0036731
3. Thresher RE 1984 Reproduction in reef fishes T.F.H. Publications, Inc Neptune City, NJ
4. Dittman A, Quinn T 1996 Homing in Pacific salmon: mechanisms and ecological basis J Exp Biol 199 Pt 1 83 91 9317381
5. Kerr M, Browning J, Bønnelycke EM, Zhang Y, Hu C, Armenteros M, Murawski S, Peebles E, Breitbart M 2020 DNA barcoding of fish eggs collected off northwestern Cuba and across the Florida Straits demonstrates egg transport by Mesoscale eddies Fish Oceanogr 29 4 340 348 10.1111/fog.12475 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/fog.12475
6. Kawakami T, Aoyama J, Tsukamoto K 2010 Morphology of pelagic fish eggs identified using mitochondrial DNA and their distribution in waters west of the Mariana Islands Environ Biol Fish 87 3 221 235 10.1007/s10641-010-9592-2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10641-010-9592-2
7. Hebert PD, Cywinska A, Ball SL, Dewaard JR 2003 Biological identifications through DNA barcodes Proc Biol Sci 270 1512 313 321 10.1098/rspb.2002.2218 12614582 1691236 http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2002.2218
8. Burrows M, Browning JS, Breitbart M, Murawski SA, Peebles EB 2019 DNA barcoding reveals clear delineation between spawning sites for neritic versus oceanic fishes in the Gulf of Mexico Fish Oceanogr 28 2 228 239 10.1111/fog.12404 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/fog.12404
9. Ratnasingham S, Hebert PD 2007 BOLD: The barcode of life data system Mol Ecol Notes 7 3 355 364 10.1111/j.1471-8286.2007.01678.x 1890991 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-8286.2007.01678.x

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2021-01-29
2021-02-27

Abstract:

Fish are an important resource worldwide and their management requires a combination of strategies, including the protection of spawning areas. However, the identification of fish early life stages, especially fish eggs, is challenging due to the lack of distinguishing morphological features. Here we present an outreach activity, named “DNA Detectives”, that allows students to discover the method of DNA barcoding, a technique used by scientists to determine which species of fish are spawning in a given location. Students will learn about fish reproduction strategies, methods used by scientists for collecting fish eggs, and how to identify these eggs using their genetic code, or DNA sequence. During this activity, students receive a short lesson about fish reproduction and fish egg collection before performing their own DNA Detective work by choosing a fish egg, deciphering its genetic code to identify the species it belongs to, learning about the fish through a coloring page, and earning a sticker reward. The DNA Detectives activity is designed for grades 2-5, but has been used in a wide range of settings such as public science festivals and the Great American Teach-In. This activity is also available to remote learners via a website (https://sites.google.com/view/dnadetectives/home).

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

Fishing for fish eggs.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. January 2021 vol. 22 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v22i1.2191
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Deciphering the code.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. January 2021 vol. 22 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v22i1.2191
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