Frequently Asked Questions

Video Tutorial
1. Registering an Account

An introduction to the BOLD Student Data Portal website. This video provides an overview of the system and describes how to register and create a course.

2. Submitting Data

This video follows the submission of a DNA barcode record from the specimen data all the way to the sequence. It focuses on the student interface, but it allows instructors to follow the steps students will need to undertake in order to create their records.

3. Overseeing a course

This video provides an overview of the tools available to instructors to monitor student work and participation. It also describes the steps needed in validating and approving student-generated data for publication on BOLD and GenBank.

What is the difference between a reference barcode and an investigative barcode? 

DNA barcoding is a very powerful tool for species identification, but before any sequences can be identified there needs to be a database of reference sequences to compare them to.  Reference barcodes make up this database, the BOLD DNA Barcode Reference Library.  Reference barcodes are created from samples with well established taxonomic identifications such as those in museum collections. 

Investigative barcode records are generated from samples with unknown or questionable taxonomic identifications, such as fish market samples or tea leaves.  By comparing these sequences to those in the BOLD DNA Barcode Reference Library, identifications can be determined and confirmed.

If your class is creating reference barcodes, you will need to include as much specimen and collection information as possible and make sure that all your specimen and sequence data is accurate.  These records will be referenced by other scientists to determine the identity of their samples, and if you have mistakes in your record, it can lead to serious data errors in the system. 

On the other hand, if your class is creating investigative barcodes you will likely have less details about your sample, however it is still extremely important to include information about the restaurant or supermarket where your sample is coming from and when it was collected or purchased. This will help you interpret your results and determine the outcome of your experiment. 

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