Collection at Centre for Biodiversity Genomics surpasses 5 million specimens

hawk moth
A hawk moth, one of the many specimens in the DNA database.

The Centre for Biodiversity Genomics natural history collection at the University of Guelph reached an important milestone in February, processing its five millionth barcoded specimen.

The CBG’s collections unit has sorted, processed and archived barcoded specimens from around the world since 2006. Each specimen in the globally unique collection is fully digitized and sequenced and made available online through the Barcode of Life Data system platform.

The final array of 95 specimens that allowed CBG to reach the five-million mark were collected in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Each specimen was prepared for DNA barcode analysis through databasing and tissue sampling and then permanently entered in CBG’s natural history archive, along with images and collection information.

DNA barcoding is a technique developed by CBG director Paul Hebert that allows researchers to distinguish species based on a small snippet of their genetic material. The technology has enabled the rapid sequencing of millions of specimens from around the globe.