Bringing Genomics to Biodiversity
Recent News and Publications / From the CBG
The Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG) at the University of Guelph is the global leader in the development and application of DNA-based systems for species identification. Sequence diversity in short, standardized gene regions (DNA barcodes) enables fast, inexpensive, and accurate species discrimination. An efficient and cost-effective approach, DNA barcoding is not only transforming humanity’s capacity to understand biodiversity, but it’s also helping us to better protect it.
With 80 full-time researchers and 40 HQP, the CBG delivers two key services: Genomics and Informatics. The Genomics Unit – the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding – provides sequencing support to thousands of researchers each year, while the Informatics Unit provides platforms, BOLD and mBRAVE, to curate and analyze DNA barcode data. The Centre also hosts a natural history collection containing seven million biological specimens and images that are catalogued and analyzed by taxonomic experts. The CBG also boasts the world’s largest DNA archive for biodiversity.
The CBG also coordinates the International Barcode of Life consortium, supporting researchers and organizations worldwide with access to new tools and information, data, and opportunities to collaborate with thousands of colleagues across 40 countries. It is also the home of the BIOSCAN, a $180M global research program exploring species discovery, species interactions, and species distribution.
Four Canadian agencies provide essential support to the CBG:
Canada First Research Excellence Fund (Tri-Council)
Genome Canada & Ontario Genomics
Major Science Initiatives Fund (CFI)
Transformation 2020 (NFRF)
Looking to stem global biodiversity loss, European scientists have launched a new research alliance to use DNA barcoding and related technologies developed at the University of Guelph. The Biodiversity Genomics Europe (BGE) consortium predicts that its work will have revolutionary impacts on biodiversity science, akin to those of the Human Genome Project on medicine and health.
Description of Cabamofa vietnamensis sp. nov., the second species of Cabamofa in mainland southeast Asia (Diptera: Bibionomorpha: Sciaroidea incertae sedis)
Jaschhof M, Levesque-Beaudin V, Broadley A, Heller K, Van Lien V, Schmidt S
This year’s Arctic BIOSCAN biodiversity monitoring activities expanded outside Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk to include Kugaaruk, Gjoa Haven, and Taloyoak. The expansion was made possible by support from Polar Knowledge Canada and the SOI Foundation, which together enabled hiring Nunavummiut youth to work as field technicians across Nunavut.
As nanopore sequencing continues gaining traction for biodiversity research and species monitoring, new data suggests it can potentially become a suitable alternative to Sanger and Pacific Biosciences sequencing, which are currently widely used for DNA barcode sequencing for species identification.
Canada’s STREAM project uses genomics to advance watershed health monitoring. “We provide what can be thought of as clinical diagnostics for environmental health,” says Mehrdad Hajibabaei, integrative biology professor at the University of Guelph and scientific leader at STREAM.
The University of Guelph is building a powerful inventory of every species on Earth in an effort to monitor and conserve biodiversity in the face of crisis.