September 27, 2010

DNA Barcode Library Opens In Toronto

An international team of geneticists announced the opening of a DNA barcode library in Toronto, Canada which represents nearly 80,000 species.

The International Barcode of Life Project (iBOL) was officially launched by the Minister of Research and Innovation, Glen Murray, during an event at Toronto's CN Tower on Saturday, September 25.

The aim of the project is to eventually build a digital ID system for all life on the planet which could help to reduce the time and cost of species identification.

IBOL's scientific director, Paul Hebert, said the rate of species extinction is quite shocking.

"But efforts to reverse that trend are hampered by huge gaps in our knowledge about the distribution and diversity of life. DNA barcoding promises a future where everyone will have rapid access to the names and biological attributes of every species on Earth," he told AFP.

DNA barcoding will be a vital tool for conservation and for monitoring species that have adverse impacts on human health and economic welfare, he said.

The project involves the partnership of more than 25 countries.

By 2015, members are expected to have entered more than five million specimens into the DNA library. By that time more than half a million species should be listed in the interactive Barcode of Life Data System databank, and eventually all animals, plants and fungal species.


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