International Barcode of Life


Project Overview

Title: International Barcode of Life
CBG Units: All
Scope: International consortium and research alliance with the mission to DNA barcode 500K species
Project Duration: Phase I – 2010-2015; Phase II – 2016-2020
Stage: In Progress
Reach: 26 Nodes (partner nations)
Sequences: 5.3 million DNA barcodes; 580,000 species


Project Details

The mission of the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) is to unite DNA barcoding research as a global science. Through a research alliance spanning 26 nations with varying levels of investment and responsibilities, iBOL is successfully extending the geographic and taxonomic coverage of the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD). Five years after the organization’s inception in 2010, iBOL has met its key target for Phase I: records for 500K species were added to BOLD through this international collaboration.

The overall task of iBOL researchers is to collect and curate specimens, and organize their DNA sequences into a reference library used for global species identification. The Centre for Biodiversity Genomics acts as iBOL’s hub with a staff of 100 genomicists, informaticians, and taxonomists operating its high-volume sequencing facility, maintaining its central informatics platform, and hosting its largest scientific team.

iBOL invites countries to participate as Nodes of the project. Nodes are the fundamental units that provide resources and services (e.g. build capacity and set priorities for barcoding in their country/region) for this collaborative effort. Nodes are divided into three categories of participation – National, Regional, and Central. National Nodes focus on collecting, identifying and curating specimens from their own territory. Regional and Central Nodes also participate in barcode acquisition with the Regional Nodes maintaining core sequencing facilities and Central Nodes supporting the bioinformatics facilities required to share barcode records with all nations.


A complete list of the funding organizations (including biological collections) that support iBOL is available on the iBOL website.


Connect to iBOL

For more information on the International Barcode of Life visit