Investment in Centre for Biodiversity Genomics




The Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG) at the University of Guelph holds global leadership in the development and application of species identification systems based on sequence diversity in short, standardized gene regions (DNA barcodes). Termed DNA barcoding, this approach is hugely advancing both our knowledge of the species that share our planet and our capacity to track shifts in their abundance and distribution.

The CBG delivers two key analytical services (informatics, sequencing) to the biodiversity science community; it analyzes millions of specimens and tens of thousands of samples each year by coupling large sequencers with mainframe computers. The award from Genome Canada’s Technology Program will allow the CBG’s Innovation Unit to expand its efforts to develop the laboratory protocols and informatics systems required to capitalize on the capabilities enabled by the thumb-sized DNA sequencers developed by Oxford Nanopore Technologies.

Aside from their speed in delivering data, the low cost of these sequencers and their associated flow cells make them ideal for two purposes – accelerating the development of methods for subsequent implementation in the CBG core facility and making it possible to establish a distributed network of sequencing facilities so nations around the world can track their biodiversity. Because the CBG coordinates the research programs undertaken by the International Barcode of Life Consortium, the advances made by the Innovation Unit in the application of nanopore technology are sure to see rapid uptake on a global scale.