Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Barcode of Life

This program, started in 2002, aims to speed the building and use of a library of short DNA sequences (barcodes) to identify animal and plant species reliably and inexpensively. Foundation grantmaking has supported the selection of gene regions for use in identification and the networking of stakeholder institutions in the field, which include museums and herbaria that have collections of specimens, laboratories that perform analyses, and regulatory agencies concerned, for example, about the accuracy of food labeling. The Consortium for the Barcode of Life, based at the Smithsonian Institution, includes over 170 member organizations from 50 countries. Barcodes of over 850,000 specimens from over 70,000 species have been accumulated with plans to extend the barcode library to 500,000 species over the next five years. Grantmaking for 2010 will focus on supporting the Consortium as it shifts to financial reliance on government agencies concerned both with basic science and with consumer and environmental protection.

Program Director:
Gail M. Pesyna Bio