Project Overview

Title: BARCODE 500K
CBG Units: All
Scope: International research alliance with the mission to DNA barcode 500K species
Project Duration: 2010-2015
Stage: Complete
Reach: 20 Nodes (partner nations)
Sequences: 5.3 million DNA barcodes; 580,000 species


Project Details

The mission of the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Consortium is to unite DNA barcoding research as a global science. Through a research alliance spanning 20 nations with varying levels of investment and responsibilities, BARCODE 500K successfully extended the geographic and taxonomic coverage of the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD). Five years after the project’s inception in 2010, BARCODE 500K 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. BARCODE 500K invited countries to participate as Nodes of the project. Nodes were the fundamental units that provided resources and services (e.g. build capacity and set priorities for barcoding in their country/region) for this collaborative effort. Nodes were divided into three categories of participation – National, Regional, and Central. National Nodes focused on collecting, identifying and curating specimens from their own territory. Regional and Central Nodes also participated 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 supported BARCODE 500K is available on the iBOL website.


Connect to iBOL

For more information on the International Barcode of Life Consortium visit