First established as a core genomics facility to enable research programs of the CBG’s scientific team, the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding (CCDB; www.ccdb.ca) is now the world’s largest analytical hub for DNA barcoding with the primary goal of delivering the most reliable and comprehensive species genetic identification service on the planet. It achieves this goal by basing identifications upon the analysis of sequence diversity in short genome regions, termed DNA barcodes. Empowered by $7M in sequencing and liquid handling instrumentation and 20 staff, the CCDB leads the world in both the development of new molecular protocols and in the generation of DNA barcode records.
The capabilities of the CCDB are unique as it employs high-throughput methods to gather DNA barcodes from vast numbers of specimens with various levels of DNA preservation and across large domains of life. Establishing such capabilities required the development, optimization, and validation of laboratory protocols and operating procedures for every analytical step to ensure accurate and reproducible results for the thousands of samples processed each day. The capacity of the CCDB to analyze specimens is unrivaled. As of 2015, it processes more than one million specimens each year – from a tissue sample to DNA barcode record.
To keep up with the current and projected research needs of the CBG and its partners, the CCDB is continuously expanding its repertoire of molecular tools for biodiversity genomics. Work of the R&D unit is focused on DNA preservation methods to facilitate long-term protection of genomic resources for future research projects and recovery of genomic information from specimens with degraded DNA. As well, by employing high-throughput DNA sequencing, the CCDB is assembling DNA barcode libraries from century old museum specimens and is carrying out large-scale DNA-based biodiversity surveys.
Because of its unique expertise, the CCDB serves as a model research facility for the DNA barcoding and biodiversity genomics community. Over the last three years, the CCDB has been involved in research projects with more than 100 research organizations, government agencies, and private sector firms based in 50 nations. The CCDB’s most recent achievement is tied to the International Barcode of Life Project – the largest initiative ever undertaken in biodiversity genomics that delivered on its promise to assemble a DNA barcode library for 5 million records representing 500,000 species of animals, plants, and fungi by 2015. The CCDB has generated nearly 75% of all DNA barcode records that are now available. The scientific impact of the CCDB is evidenced by the number of papers published by its researchers and collaborators; Google Scholar indicates that the CCDB has been cited for analytical support in more than 1000 publications.
For more details about the CCDB, its current research, and the services it offers, visit www.ccdb.ca