Life Technologies Collaborates with Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding on Species Biodiversity Study Partnership aims to genetically sequence and catalogue 500,000 specimens collected from developing countries to understand biodiversity's role in maintaining Earth's ecosystem
CARLSBAD, Calif., Dec. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Life Technologies Corporation today announced a partnership with the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding in support of the Centre's International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project, a global biodiversity study that will genetically sequence and catalogue 5 million specimens and 500,000 species by late 2015.
DNA-based approaches are playing a crucial role in helping scientists to accelerate the identification of the tens-of-millions of species on Earth and the role they play in maintaining the planet's ecosystem. The partnership will enable iBOL project leaders to sequence organisms from developing countries where the threat of extinction is high and biodiversity is often the richest, yet largely undocumented.
Using Life Technologies' Capillary Electrophoresis (CE) sequencing instruments, iBOL researchers will generate species-specific genetic barcodes for each specimen and deposit the data into the international reference library – Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD) - for use by the international scientific community.
"Our collaboration with Life Technologies is invaluable to ensure completion of this important endeavor," said Dr. Paul Hebert, Scientific Director of iBOL, who first developed the concept of DNA barcoding. "The data we will gather from around the world will expand the scientific community's understanding of many previously unknown species and the critical role they play in our planet's equilibrium."
The partnership will focus on two projects: The first will analyze species diversity in insect samples taken from sites around the world to expand coverage in the DNA barcode reference library for this critical, but poorly characterized, group. The second project will study biodiversity patterns in Central and South America – areas with some of the richest biodiversity on Earth. Dr. Hebert and his colleagues at the University of Guelph were the first to propose DNA barcoding, a new system of species identification similar to the way items are scanned at the checkout counter in a grocery store. The group uses CE sequencing to quantify biodiversity and now leads the international biodiversity sequencing effort.
The barcoding technique involves sequencing a short stretch of DNA from standardized genomic regions that display sufficient genetic divergence to allow species resolution. This enables scientists to accurately identify any species at any stage of development using a simple and fast genetic test.
Life Technologies is also working with the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding to develop metagenomic barcoding applications on the Ion PGM™ sequencer. The Ion PGM™ System is ideal for metagenomics because of its long 400 base-pair reads, low cost, high throughput and fast turnaround time. Capillary electrophoresis and Ion semiconductor sequencing are complementary technologies that together will make it possible to rapidly improve our understanding of global biodiversity.
"At this time when our planet's biodiversity is under such threat, we are delighted to help address this critical global issue through our partnership with Dr. Hebert and the team at the University of Guelph," said Peter Christey, Vice President, Capillary Electrophoresis at Life Technologies. "Our Capillary Electrophoresis sequencing technology is the gold standard for DNA barcoding due to its accuracy and accessibility. The use of CE sequencing and Ion Torrent semiconductor technology to help preserve our planet's biodiversity aligns with our mission to shape discovery and improve life."
About Life Technologies
Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) is a global biotechnology company that is committed to providing the most innovative products and services to leading customers in the fields of scientific research, genetic analysis and applied sciences. With a presence in more than 180 countries, the company's portfolio of 50,000 end-to-end solutions are secured by more than 5,000 patents and licenses that span the entire biological spectrum -- scientific exploration, molecular diagnostics, 21st century forensics, regenerative medicine and agricultural research. Life Technologies has approximately 10,000 employees and had sales of $3.8 billion in 2012.
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