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Scientists to barcode all life species

LONDON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- In a modern version of the Noah's Ark, British and other scientists plan to bar code every species of life on Earth to have a record of genetic sequences.

These new genetic sequences to be completed by 2010 would identify every one of the estimated 10 million species of plants and animals, the Scotsman reported.

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Many extinct species may also be bar-coded using DNA from museum specimens. Less than a fifth of the Earth's flora and fauna has been named by scientists, the report said.

The task of identifying and describing the vast array of known and unknown species on the planet is a massive one, but vital to scientific research.

The project will be coordinated by the Consortium for the Barcode of Life.

Group Chairman Scott Miller told a news conference at the Natural History Museum in London that the "DNA bar-coding will make a huge difference to our knowledge and understanding of the natural world."

DNA barcodes will make species recognition in the field much easier, especially where traditional methods are not practical. They will also give non- specialists an easy way to make identifications and provide access to detailed species information.

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