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Building a digital library for life on Earth
Date:9/24/2010

Toronto The largest biodiversity genomics initiative ever undertaken an international effort to build a digital identification system for all life on Earth will be officially activated this week.

The International Barcode of Life Project (iBOL) will be launched by the Minister of Research and Innovation, Glen Murray, during an event at Toronto's CN Tower on Saturday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m.

By enabling automated, rapid and inexpensive species identifications, iBOL will transform biodiversity science and its applications throughout society. "We are witnessing alarming rates of species extinction," said iBOL Scientific Director Paul Hebert, "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."

Dr. Hebert said that DNA barcodes will be a vital tool not only for conservation but also for monitoring species that have adverse impacts on human health and economic wellbeing. "We are only beginning to scratch the surface of how DNA barcoding will impact the way we live, work and play," he said.

DNA barcoding is a method for identifying species using a short DNA sequence from a standard location on the genome. The technique dramatically reduces the time and cost of species identification. Moreover, because DNA barcode libraries are in digital format, fully automated identification is now possible for a growing number of species.

Work over the past five years has produced one million barcode records representing almost 80,000 species and provided the impetus for the launch of iBOL, the large-scale genomics project that will not only massively expand the DNA barcode reference library but also develop the technologies to read it, including a table-top barcoder.

iBOL has been established as a not-for-profit corporatio
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Contact: John Chenery
jchenery@ibol.org
519-835-1273
International Barcode of Life
Source:Eurekalert

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