Progress
number of records:  1006700
 
number of sequences:  850602
 
number of species:  79265
 
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Vision
DNA Barcoding
DNA barcoding employs sequence diversity in short, standardized genomic regions as a tool for species identification and discovery. A 650-bp segment near the 5' terminus of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene has been adopted as the primary barcode region for members of the animal kingdom. Sequence diversity in this region has proven very effective for identification of animal species in a wide range of taxonomic groups. In addition, because of their digital format, DNA barcode libraries will allow fully automated identifications for most specimens. Automation will massively improve humanity’s ability to monitor, understand, and manage biodiversity with substantial scientific, forensic, epidemiological and economic benefits.

Toward All-Lepidoptera
The Lepidoptera – butterflies and moths – are a major target group for iBOL WG1.9 (Terrestrial Bio-Surveillance). This WG aims to gather records for half of all described species of Lepidoptera (80K species) by 2015, as the first phase of building a reference library for all Lepidoptera. The completion of this task will revolutionize the access and the reliability of biodiversity data and permit the repeatability of their analyses. It lets envision a near future where a tissue fragment from any developmental stage of any butterfly or moth can be reliably identified on the spot, in an instant, anywhere on our planet.

Involving taxonomists
Like most other groups of animals, Lepidoptera suffer from a strong taxonomic impediment. Most families are in need of revision and many species await description. DNA barcoding will allow the resolution of this impediment at global scale with an unrivaled pace. Success of the iBOL campaign demands synergy between “traditional” expertise and DNA barcoding.

Lepidoptera taxonomists from all over the world are already involved in the project and all interested colleagues are invited to join this effort. The campaign will benefit from the unique and invaluable expertise taxonomists have accumulated, from their rich and curated collections of specimens, and from their network of collaborators. DNA barcodes, in return, provide new evidence to address complex taxonomic issues. For example, they will help to address unrecognized synonymy, to unveil cases of cryptic diversity and/or support their investigation, or to secure the association of males and females, immature stages and adults.

Access and Applications
A key feature of the use of DNA barcodes for species identification is their integration within a universally accessible system. All the data concerning voucher specimens (host collection, taxonomy, identifier, sex, stage, collecting data and image(s)) and the DNA sequences (nucleotide composition, translated protein sequence, trace files) are stored in BOLD, the central workbench for barcode analysis. This web-based system facilitates collaborative work. It has its own integrated analytical tools permitting comparison at distance and combined analysis of records from different projects hosted in remote collections.