Front entrance view of Centre for Biodiversity BuildingThe University of Guelph’s Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG) has received $376,000 to revamp data platforms that support DNA barcoding work around the world.

Major infrastructure enhancements will allow the centre’s systems to better exchange and use data stored in two informatics platforms at CBG, a global leader in genomics.

“This award will make it possible to greatly extend the capacity of these platforms to support the global biodiversity science community, aiding research on themes ranging from environmental assessments to biosecurity and conservation,” said Prof. Paul Hebert, CBG director. “It will also advance research in key areas including agriculture, climate change and pandemics.”

The funding is from the non-profit organization CANARIE. Established in 1993 and funded primarily by the Government of Canada, its aim is to strengthen Canadian leadership in science and technology through improvements to digital infrastructure that connects Canada’s researchers, educators and innovators to each other and to global data, technology and colleagues.

CBG’s pioneering BOLD (Barcode of Life Data) system and mBRAVE (Multiplex Barcode Research and Visualization Environment) platforms will be upgraded.

Recognized as one of the world’s top data repositories, BOLD is used by nearly 30,000 registered users around the world and is the international standard for discriminating species via genetic sequences.

The mBRAVE platform supports DNA metabarcoding, involving parallel sequencing of thousands of individual specimens, and analysis and interpretation of massive volumes of data.

The platform upgrades will enhance the data distribution capabilities, while improving their capacity to interface with other major biodiversity data infrastructures around the world.

“Our aim is to work with these data initiatives to develop a seamless open data fabric that serves the biodiversity science community,” said Sujeevan Ratnasingham, associate director (informatics) at CBG and chief architect of the BOLD and mBRAVE platforms.


Hannah James