Research

Research Projects

The Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding is proud to have established partnerships with a growing number of organizations all contributing to advancing the Barcode of Life Initiative. This network consists of other DNA barcoding labs, specimen collections, funding agencies, partners in technology development and informatics, and other stakeholders in domain of biodiversity and biological identifications. The CCDB plays a key role in this international initiative as a Central Node within the DNA barcoding community. We are particularly proud to be the main analytical hub for the following large-scale research projects that implement DNA barcoding:


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International Barcode of Life (iBOL)

The International Barcode of Life project (iBOL) is the largest biodiversity genomics initiative ever undertaken. iBOL's main mission is extending the geographic and taxonomic coverage of the barcode reference library -- Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD). Within five years, iBOL participants will gather DNA barcode records from five million specimens, representing at least 500,000 species. iBOL's work will be carried out by a research alliance spanning 26 nations with varying levels of investment and responsibilities.


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National Ecology Observatory Network (NEON)

The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale observatory designed to gather and provide 30 years of ecological data on the impacts of climate change, land use change and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity.

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The School Malaise Trap Program

The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) has teamed up with grade 6 and grade 12 students from 60 schools across Southern Ontario to explore the insect diversity in their schoolyards through DNA barcoding. Using a Malaise trap - a tent-like apparatus for collecting insects - each school will collect hundreds of insect specimens. Once each class has deployed their Malaise trap for two weeks beginning on April 22nd, the samples will be analyzed at the CCDB and each class will receive a report providing a summary of the insects collected at each school. It will highlight new discoveries, and make comparisons between schools and nearby National Parks.

 


Primer on DNA Barcoding

DNA barcoding is based on a simple, but powerful premise. It argues that sequence diversity in short, standardized gene regions can provide a sophisticated tool for both the identification of known species and the discovery of new ones. DNA Barcoding uses the four alternate nucleotides at each position of the DNA strand to generate genetic "barcodes" capable of telling species apart, in a manner analogous to the Universal Product Code (UPC) used in the retail industry. The system remains rooted in traditional taxonomy, but, DNA provides an alternative to morphology for diagnosing species and enables non-experts to objectively identify species.

Fish DNA barcode comparison