The California-based science education organization Coastal Marine Biolabs has released the first iPhone app for DNA barcoders.
The DNA Barcoding Assistant provides an intuitive interface to acquire specimen metadata for iBOL and other biodiversity initiatives.
The app is free and can be downloaded at the App Store.
With DNA Barcode Assistant, users can capture unique identifiers and compile records containing provisional user-assigned taxonomic identifications, digital images, geospatial data, and collection event details for specimens obtained in the field.
Specimen records created with DNA Barcoding Assistant are exported to the iPhone mail app as attachments that can be imported into an Excel spreadsheet. Imported text and linked image data can then be authenticated, edited and uploaded to Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) using the specimen data and image submission protocols outlined in the BOLD handbook.
To streamline the cataloging and tracking of field specimens destined for museums, tissue banks and other vouchering institutions, DNA Barcoding Assistant integrates open-source ZBar technology to extract identifiers and other forms of data encoded by barcode symbols affixed to specimen storage containers. Users can also manually input a sample ID.
For educational audiences, the DNA Barcoding Assistant is a versatile e-learning tool for students engaged in various biodiversity-based explorations aimed at promoting bioliteracy.
Coastal Marine Biolabs developers are also planning to release the barcoding app for both Android and Blackberry mobile platforms.