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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 (

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Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, v. 22, issue 1, art. ev22i1.2191

jmbe00004-21_supp_1_seq2.pdf (3328 kB)
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