Finland Takes a Leap into the BIOSCAN Age

With remarkable governmental support, FinBOL aims to add thousands of species to the DNA barcode library by the end of 2022.
Six thousand specimens of sawflies recently processed for DNA barcoding as part of the FinBOL project. PHOTO CREDIT: Vlad Dinca

Written by

Marko Mutanen

Marko Mutanen

Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland

April 7, 2019

DNA barcoding first gained momentum in Finland in 2011 with the launch of the national Finnish Barcode of Life (FinBOL) initiative, initially funded by three major national funders – the Kone Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Foundation as well as the University of Oulu. FinBOL’s main goal is to build a DNA barcode reference library for the species of Finland.

Since 2015, the Academy of Finland has funded barcoding activities through the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility (FinBIF) which brings together all information about Finnish species under the portal, including links to the DNA barcodes available on the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD).

With approximately 40,000 species known and 48,000 estimated, Finland’s biodiversity is relatively modest in comparison to most other countries. The fauna and flora are, however, among the best investigated globally, and roughly one-half of the species are presently represented with sequence data on BOLD. Some major groups, such as butterflies, moths, and caddisflies, already have barcode sequences for virtually all species. Many experts have been closely engaged with the project and this continued collaboration will be integral to reaching our goal.

Recently, the Academy of Finland provided €2.7M to FinBIF 2.0 to further strengthen the national biodiversity infrastructure. With this remarkable governmental support, we aim to add thousands of species to the DNA barcode library by the end of 2022. To reach this goal, we take advantage of the unprecedented progress in high-throughput sequencing technology that also facilitates the recovery of full barcode sequences from old museum specimens when fresh specimens are not available.


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