The Barcode Blog

A mostly scientific blog about short DNA sequences for species identification and discovery. I encourage your commentary. -- Mark Stoeckle

Subscribe to this blog

Sign up for email notifications

Neotropical birds: Argentine researchers speed past halfway point

The Neotropics, comprising southern Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, and South America, is home to over 4,000 bird species, representing over 40% of world birds. In this post, Pablo Tubaro, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales (MACN), Buenos Aires, Argentina, sends this update on DNA barcoding birds of Argentina:

“This project, which started in December 2005, is a collaboration between MACN and the Biodiversity Insitute of Ontario/Canadian Center for DNA Barcoding (BIO/CCDB). In November 2006 the project was boosted by a grant from the Richard Lounsbery Foundation that supports expanded collecting efforts in Argentina, training of Argentine students at CCDB (2 trained so far), and establishment of a DNA laboratory at MACN. 

A special feature of this project is that it started literally from scratch. As there were no significant collections of frozen bird tissues with associated vouchers in Argentina, we started by resampling the country from north to south, conducting joint campaigns in collaboration with researchers from several North American institutions including American Museum of Natural History, Cornell University, Louisiana State University, Queen’s University, University of Alaska, and University of Kansas. At present our frozen tissue collection with associated vouchers includes more than 3100 samples and is growing rapidly. We will be doing field work at Iguazu National Park in November and December and aim to have collected 70% of Argentine birds by the year’s end.

Results so far show interspecific and intraspecific levels of divergence in COI squence are similar to published results with North American birds. In more than 98% of cases, the COI sequences belonging to different species do not overlap. In addition, in 3% of cases Argentine birds show distinct COI sequence clusters, suggesting the possible existence of cryptic species or geographical races that deserve species status. At this moment, four doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships have been requested or are already awarded by the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET) and the National Science Foundation of Argentina (ANPCyT) to study in depth the phylogeographic structure of some of the interesting cases revealed by our DNA barcode survey.”

Congratulations to Pablo Tubaro and his team on their rapid progress in DNA barcoding Argentine birds, creation of a significant avian tissue and skin collection at MACN, and on recognition of the value of this work by science institutions in Argentina!

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2007 at 9:29 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Neotropical birds: Argentine researchers speed past halfway point”

  1. John Says:

    Barcoding the DNA of birds and other species looks like it is really moving along. There is a really cool tool that can incorporate the barcode of the species with the image and place them on product that you can use. Check out this barcode label maker and just email the image of the species to have the product made with the barcode and the image. It could be a great way to get the word out on a new bird and the DNA barcoding project.

  2. Dubai Dude Says:

    This is pretty amazing how barcodes can be used.

  3. quy loc Says:

    Barcode is currently the most popular technology used in identification industry. I’m not amzing when see it used in DNA bird identification. However, I thought that this technology will be replaced by RFID in identification technology

  4. Mark Stoeckle Says:

    Like the expression “DNA fingerprinting”, “DNA barcoding” is a metaphor, which in this case refers to using a short DNA sequence as an identifier for organisms. In contrast, identification methods for commercial products, include optical barcodes and RFID (radio frequency identification), involve applying physical tags to items.


About this site

This web site is an outgrowth of the Taxonomy, DNA, and Barcode of Life meeting held at Banbury Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, September 9-12, 2003. It is designed and managed by Mark Stoeckle, Perrin Meyer, and Jason Yung at the Program for the Human Environment (PHE) at The Rockefeller University.

About the Program for the Human Environment

The involvement of the Program for the Human Environment in DNA barcoding dates to Jesse Ausubel's attendance in February 2002 at a conference in Nova Scotia organized by the Canadian Center for Marine Biodiversity. At the conference, Paul Hebert presented for the first time his concept of large-scale DNA barcoding for species identification. Impressed by the potential for this technology to address difficult challenges in the Census of Marine Life, Jesse agreed with Paul on encouraging a conference to explore the contribution taxonomy and DNA could make to the Census as well as other large-scale terrestrial efforts. In his capacity as a Program Director of the Sloan Foundation, Jesse turned to the Banbury Conference Center of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, whose leader Jan Witkowski prepared a strong proposal to explore both the scientific reliability of barcoding and the processes that might bring it to broad application. Concurrently, PHE researcher Mark Stoeckle began to work with the Hebert lab on analytic studies of barcoding in birds. Our involvement in barcoding now takes 3 forms: assisting the organizational development of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life and the Barcode of Life Initiative; contributing to the scientific development of the field, especially by studies in birds, and contributing to public understanding of the science and technology of barcoding and its applications through improved visualization techniques and preparation of brochures and other broadly accessible means, including this website. While the Sloan Foundation continues to support CBOL through a grant to the Smithsonian Institution, it does not provide financial support for barcoding research itself or support to the PHE for its research in this field.