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DNA barcoding and the sticky rice tea switch

Activity Description

This activity is a continuation of the sticky rice tea issue discussed in class #6. We introduce DNA barcoding, and then work in stations to do a DNA extraction.

Estimated Time of Activity

90 minutes

Activity Objectives

Students will be able do the following as a result of the activity:

  1. ... learn what DNA barcoding is
  2. ... learn how to extract DNA
  3. ... learn the basics of species identification and use morphology to identify plants to species

Activity Prerequisites

Students must have been introduced to the sticky rice problem

Activity Instructions

  1. Briefly show the DNA barcoding powerpoint by the Urban Barcode Project ( Discuss (15 minutes)
  2. Explain that because it was difficult to determine which sticky rice tea sample is the good species, and which is the imposter species, we will use DNA barcoding, and also use visually obvious differences in physical features (morphological features) of the plants to look further for clues.
  3. Show students the two stations: DNA extraction, and morphological analysis station (see links for details on stations). Place bags of all six tea samples at each station (get tea samples from Vic, or contact R. Meyer (dramlit at gmail . com). Explain in brief that they will be at each station for 20 minutes.
  4. Recap on how the day went and if there were any findings from the morphological analyses. Explain that you will sequence the rbcL gene from each sample of DNA and get them results next week.


Perform DNA extraction and submit notes on morphological analysis and any findings.


Perform activities and turn in results. 


See below.

Instructor’s Notes

You can use either of two methods. The first is the easy method but won't  produce visible DNA (check first with the materials section of the easy method in hyperlink). The second is what I prefer if you have access to the equipement of a Qiagen kit and a microcentrifuge or table-top minicentrifuge. In that case you need the materials asked for in the Qiagen DNeasy kit.