The Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG) at the University of Guelph received a 3-year, $7.5 million award from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) in March 2019. This support will largely be directed towards ensuring the CBG can sustain the informatics platforms and sequencing facilities required for BIOSCAN to achieve its goals.
The CBG’s Genomics Unit will, for example, use the funds to extend the efficiency of workflows on its 3rd generation SEQUEL platform with the goal of making it possible to barcode single specimens for less than $1 apiece. In addition, the Genomics Unit will advance metabarcoding protocols in an effort to determine the species composition of bulk samples for $0.01 per specimen.
The CFREF award will also allow the CBG’s Informatics Unit to extend the functionalities of the BOLD and mBRAVE platforms. BOLD will gain the capacity to support symbiome studies, and will also strengthen its ability to automatically assign new sequences to a higher taxonomic category. Extensions to mBRAVE will enable it to fully support the analysis of data gathered with Illumina and Oxford Nanopore platforms while enhancing current support for the SEQUEL and ION platforms.
Aside from advancing these capabilities that will be of high importance to the entire iBOL Consortium, a fifth of the CFREF award will be directed toward an analysis of the factors influencing arthropod diversity in three of Canada’s 15 ecoregions (Mixedwood Plains, Boreal Shield, Prairies).
International Barcode of Life Consortium
The International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Consortium is a research alliance of 30 nations with a mission to develop and apply a globally accessible, DNA-based system for the discovery and identification of all multi-cellular life. Our vision is to illuminate biodiversity for the benefit of all life.