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Molecular "barcoding" refers to the approach of reading short sequences of DNA, for which we find little variation within a species but large variation between species. Ultimately such information could be used to help identify species.

ArcOD contributes Arctic material to several barcoding efforts, all under the Barcode of Life Initiative umbrella. Zooplankton is sent to the Census of Marine Zooplankton (CMarZ), fish data is sent to the Fish Barcode of Life (Fish-BOL) project, Benthic and Sea ice material is worked on in conjunction with the Polar Barcode of Life project. Less consolidated efforts are underway outside AroOD for seabirds and marine mammals. Some ArcOD affiliates do their own sequencing.

Once a database of sequences is established for expertly identified specimens, it may be used to confirm the identify of an unknown organism. Alternately the sequence maybe indicate a new species or a known species not currently represented in the database. See the Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD).

BOLD concept

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