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Barcode of Life Initiative

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The Barcode of Life Initiative is an international effort to develop reliable and authoritative means for the global identification of biological species. Barcoding uses a short DNA sequence within an organism's genome as the equivalent of a barcode on a supermarket product to determine the species origin of a biological sample.

Adoption of a standard format for barcode data allows a sample in a museum or collected in the field to be instantly linked to related information resources worldwide; to be tied in to relevant tissue, parasite, and other collections globally; and to reference DNA databases in the United States, Japan, and Europe. The result is the ability to conduct biodiversity, species migration and invasion, and population genetics studies that are more powerful because they can be reliably compared to and informed by other projects worldwide.

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