First testing of the DNA Barcoding Project in the DIYBIO Hong Kong community lab!

What is Barcode Hong Kong Project?

The Hong Kong Barcode Project is a citizen science program in Hong Kong. Just like the unique pattern of bars on the products in supermarket, a DNA barcode is a DNA sequence that uniquely identifies each species of living thing. The Hong Kong Barcode Project aims to engage general public using DNA technology to explore biodiversity in Hong Kong.

Projects can use DNA barcodes to examine any aspect of the environment, such as:

  • Sampling biodiversity in a park, garden, office, or school;
  • Checking for invasive plant or animal species;
  • Monitoring disease vectors;
  • Identifying exotic or endangered food products in markets; and
  • Detecting food mislabeling.

Our Barcoding First Test

As a DIYBio community, we decided to run our first testing in a DIY way. We used DIY lab ware like 3D printed gel electrophoresis tank, Blue LED transilluminator and DIY DNA extraction method.

We collected two plants sample nearby our lab and recorded their geographical location in iNaturalist app. We did the DNA extraction using commercial kit as well as our homemade DNA extraction recipe.

Gert from DIY BIO Hong Kong was doing DNA extraction in the community lab.

The DIY Biologists designed and made their own lab equipments using 3D printers, laser cutter and electronics. A makerspace like MakerBay is a great place to enable the integrate making into science.

Our results

Yeah! We got our DNA bands! It proves our DIY DNA extraction methods and PCR works. Though there are still some adjustments needed to be made.

First test result

Our next step

Improve and run again to make the process goes more smoothly. Then we will organise a Barcoding workshop in our meetup to invite general public to try doing wet lab like a DIY biologist! Ultimately, we would like to provide education to general public.

Find out more:



Our first testing lab note:

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Ms. Angie Zhou

Education Specialist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Angie Zhou is an Education Specialist at MIT App Inventor. She was the founder and CEO of Dreams Come True in Shenzhen, where she developed online coding courses for kids. She also has previous curriculum development, teaching and staff training experience at First Code Academy in Hong Kong.