The diversity of birds opens a window into the living world.  The All Birds Barcoding Initiative (ABBI), launched in September 2005, aims to collect standardized genetic data in the form of DNA barcodes from the approximately 10,000 known species of world birds. Despite several hundred years of careful study, genetic surveys including those with DNA barcoding suggest there are hundreds of as yet undescribed avian species. ABBI aims to help speed discovery of new species, provide a practical tool for specimen identification, and open new avenues for scientific investigation. 

By depositing records in the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD) and GenBank/EMBL/DDBJ, ABBI investigators are establishing an open-access electronic library that links DNA barcodes, reference specimens in collections, and associated collection data. The growing avian barcode library will be a valuable resource for conservation planners, ornithologists, ecologists, public health officials, and the interested public. DNA barcoding can be applied by interested persons to confirm identification regardless of age, sex, or plumage, including from individual feathers. This will aid banding and customs operations, for example, and help improve airline safety by identifying feathers and tissue remnants from birdstrikes. ABBI is a testing ground for DNA barcoding, providing benchmarks for the larger initiative to barcode all animal and plant life.

NEW: Avian COI barcode primers and protocols, with links to original papers, compiled August 2009, available at avian COI barcode primers.doc

NEW: Results as of August 2009:



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News & Updates

CBOL seeks new Administrator for Secretariat Office – Jan 13, 2010

Office Administrator, Consortium for the Barcode of Life

National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

The Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL; www.barcoding.si.edu) seeks a full-time  Administrator for its Secretariat Office.  Housed in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History on the National Mall in downtown Washington DC, CBOL is a global consortium of 200 research institutions, government agencies, NGOs and private companies.  CBOL’s mission is to promote ‘DNA barcoding’, a technique for assigning biological samples to their correct species using a short standardized DNA sequence.  The Secretariat Office pursues this mission by organizing and supporting working groups, networking activities, workshops, planning and outreach meetings, international conferences, production of outreach materials, and managing websites and an online social network.

CBOL’s Administrator manages the Secretariat Office which involves: managing approximately $1 million per year in grant funds; overseeing expenditures; maintaining account records; serving as liaison to administrative offices in the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution for contracting, human resources, travel, physical plant, sponsored projects, and information systems, among others.  The Administrator also assists CBOL’s Executive Secretary by providing financial reports and overseeing staff travel and event planning.

This is a position of responsibility calling for: excellent organizational and time management skills; ability to work independently with minimal supervision; experience in office and/or grants management; attention to detail; the ability to manage many complex tasks simultaneously; flexibility to travel; and cultural competency to interact with diverse stakeholders around the world. 

Position description is available at http://barcoding.si.edu/pdf/pdcboladministrator.pdf .  Appointment will be at the GS 9:1 level ($51,372 plus benefits) with potential for advancement to GS 11, or at the GS 11:1 level ($62,155 plus benefits) for those with a current GS 11 position.  This is a non-Federal Smithsonian Trust appointment renewable on an annual basis.  Send resume, cover letter, three recent references, and a short writing sample to Meg Fritzsche at  fritzschem@si.edu.
News on New Developments from the Plant Working Group – Oct 08, 2009


The first DNA barcodes of commonly traded bushmeat are published – Sep 04, 2009

A new tool proved for tracking the global trade in wildlife

Leather handbags and chunks of red meat: when wildlife specialists find these items in shipping containers, luggage, or local markets, they can now use newly published genetic sequences known as "DNA barcodes" to pinpoint the species of origin. Experts hope that this simple technique will track the harvesting of bushmeat (or wildlife hunted largely in Asia, South and Central America, and Africa) and will ultimately crack down on the widespread and growing international trade in bushmeat, a market estimated to be worth as much as $15 billion in 2008. According to a paper published in the early online edition of Conservation Genetics (DOI 10.1007/s10592-009-9967-0), barcodes can ably and quickly distinguish among a large number of commercially traded species, so that a handbag is identified as caiman or Nile crocodile, and the meat as duiker or mangabey...  Read more!

The Sloan Foundation, an early supporter of the Barcode of Life Initiative, has recently announced plans to continue its support of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL). A total of $1.5M will be provided to fund CBOL for the next two years to continue in its role in developing DNA barcoding as a global standard in taxonomy.

All-Leps reaches 5,000 species – Mar 15, 2006

The All-Leps campaign to DNA barcode all species of the world's moths and butterflies has made significant gains over the past two months, knocking another 2,000 species off of the global checklist. Progress details may be found at www.lepbarcoding.org.

DNA barcoding a hot topic at PNAS – Feb 16, 2006

A recent manuscript on DNA barcoding was rated fourth among the most-frequently-read PNAS articles from January 2006. This manuscript by Hajibabaei et al. describes the application of DNA barcoding to the resolution of species of tropical lepidoptera in Costa Rica. The PNAS ratings are recalculated every month and are subject to change.

FISH-BOL surpasses the 1,000 species mark – Feb 08, 2006

FISH-BOL, an international effort to DNA barcode all of the fish species of the world, has passed the 1,000 species milestone. This marks a significant early step in achieving the grand target of all 30,000 species worldwide. For real-time progress statistics and further information on this campaign, visit the FISH-BOL website.

All-Leps hits 3,000 species mark – Jan 17, 2006

The All-Leps campaign, an international collaborative effort to barcode the 25,000 species of moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera), hit a significant milestone today by surpassing the mark of 3,000 species barcodes.

Roll-out of BOLD2 – Jan 01, 2006

BOLD2 has now been released. This barcoding workbench and database replaces the previous version, adding new management and analytical tools. This rollout follows thorough beta-testing by members of the barcoding community in late 2005.

First fish DNA barcoding paper is published – Oct 01, 2005

The first paper discussing fish barcoding is published in the Philosphical Transactions of the Royal Society. Co-Chair of FISHBOL Bob Ward and others discuss in this article the barcoding process of 207 species of Australian fishes showing the cox1 sequence can be used for indentification. For the rest of this issue please follow this link.

FISHBOL.org gets a redesign – Oct 01, 2005

You may have noticed that FISHBOL.org has had a facelift. This was primarily to incorporate the new logo and to give the site a more professional feel. Coming weeks will see FISHBOL gaining access to live data from BOLD, giving up-to-date statistics on how the barcoding initiative is progressing and where each of the regional working groups are at. Please stay tuned.

FISH-BOL workshop report available! – Sep 01, 2005

The report for the FISH-BOL workshop (June 2005) is now available online.

FISHBOL.org goes online! – Aug 01, 2005

FISHBOL.org, the online face of the Fish Barcode of Life Initiative, goes online late August, 2005. The site will be a constantly evolving resource for those involved in FISH-BOL and also for those interested in it. It will contain a large amount of information regarding the initiative, such as the presentations from the inaugural meeting, or background to the project. It will also act as a portal to the BoLD system and as a forum for discussing the initiative and as a project management tool.

The Launch of FISH-BOL – Jun 01, 2005

Following review of varied pilot studies on fishes, the leadership of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life adopted the 'All Fishes' project as one of its first global barcode campaigns in early 2005. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation subsequently provided the funding needed to host a workshop to discuss the prospects for its execution. More than 50 researchers assembled at the University of Guelph from June 5-8, 2005 to consider plans for efoort to barcode all marine fishes by 2010 (with freshwater species to follow shortly later). Participants in the workshop included experts in fish taxonomy, ecology and molecular genetics. The participants reached a key point of consesus - the construction of a comprehensive barcode library for marine fishes is feasible and the resultant database will be highly effective for fish indentification. Moreover, its assembly will aid both the discovery of new fish and clarify synonymies.

Please click here for a list of the participants in this meeting.

Please click here for a list of documents from this meeting. These include;

Prof receives $3 million grant for DNA barcoding centre – Nov 02, 2004
Barcode of Life Secretariat is born – Mar 30, 2004