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National Botanic science takes centre stage in China

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 11:07 UK time, Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The science and art of the National Botanic Garden of Wales are taking centre stage in China at the Wales Week celebrations.

An exhibition at Nanshan Botanic Garden in Chongqing - entitled 'Barcode Wales: Beyond the Visible' features images and artwork illustrating the project to DNA barcode the flowering plants of Wales.

Photographs taken at the Garden by Professor Andrea Liggins, the Dean of Faculty of Art and Design at Swansea Metropolitan University, are the focal point of the exhibition and are presented alongside visual representations of the plants' DNA barcodes produced as part of the National Botanic Garden of Wales' Barcode Wales project.

DNA barcode of spreading bellflower (Campanula patula)

DNA barcode of spreading bellflower (Campanula patula), an herbarium specimen of the species.

The Garden's Head of Conservation and Research, Dr Natasha de Vere, who leads the Barcode Wales project, will be in Chongqing for Wales Week, said: "Andrea began her exploration for this exhibition by starting from our science centre and photographing the plants growing wild outside our building and in the surrounding area.

"The plant species in Andrea's photographs have a personality of their own, like actors in a play. Sometimes we can tell what they are, sometimes they are more elusive. The DNA barcodes given with each photograph are a code to identify that plant species, even when we cannot identify it with our eyes."

Nanshan Botanic Garden is hosting the exhibition and has invited Prof Liggins, Dr de Vere and the Garden's Director Dr Rosie Plummer to Chongqing for the celebrations.

According to Sinba Duan, Senior Wales Officer in Chongqing, it's anticipated the exhibition will get 500,000 visitors in March and April - peak season for the Nanshan garden.

The exhibition is at the Nanshan Botanic Garden, Chongqing, from February 27 for three months.

Barcode Wales is a joint project between the National Botanic Garden of Wales and National Museum Wales.

The aim of Barcode Wales is to make Wales one of the first nations to DNA barcode all of its native flowering plants (1143 species) and to use the barcodes for biodiversity conservation and improving peoples' lives.

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