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National Cockroach Project

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Lynette Schimming (Creative Commons License)
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Main Project Information
Goal Use DNA barcoding to analyze American cockroaches.
Task Collect, label, send in dead American cockroaches.
Where Global, anywhere on the planet

WHAT: High school students and other citizen scientists collecting and helping analyze American cockroaches using DNA barcoding.

WHY: Genetic diversity is a window into evolution and patterns of migration. American cockroaches originated in Africa and hitchhiked around the world on commercial goods. This project asks:

1. Do American cockroaches differ genetically between cities?

2. Do US genetic types match those in other parts of the world?

3. Are there genetic types that represent undiscovered look-alike species?

How to Join

To participate, collect a cockroach!


-American cockroach (dead)

-Specimen label with collection location, date

-Regular envelope and postage (form with instructions available at


-Thrill of scientific discovery using DNA

-Cool topic to talk about with friends

-DNA sequences you can analyze to study evolution

Required Gear

Sharp eyes to spot cockroaches

Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity At home, On a walk, run, At school, At a science center, zoo or aquarium, At night, At sports stadiums
Media Mentions
and Publications
Tags biodiversity, DNA barcoding, evolution, urban ecology, urban wildlife
Project Updated 04/21/2017