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International DNA Barcoding Agreement Signed
Time: 2013-11-04
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Experts have urged strengthening international scientific cooperation in species database sharing at the recently concluded fifth International Barcode of Life Conference (IBLC) in southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Held for the first time on the Chinese mainland, the four-day conference in the provincial capital city of Kunming, has drawn up the Kunming Declaration to promote unity in the global barcoding community.

"The declaration in Kunming is one of the most important events in the history of biodiversity science. We are following a global trend to open up data. It's critical to protection of biodiversity in the future," Canadian scientist Paul Hebert remarked on Oct.31.

The Kunming Declaration, signed by 400 scientists from more than 40 regions and countries, calls for international cooperation in DNA barcoding technology and industry standards.

DNA barcoding, initially proposed by Paul Hebert in 2003, is a way to identify species by a short genetic marker. The technology has been adopted in fields such as species identification and biological medicine, according to Li Deshu, dean of Kunming Institute of Botany.

"The technology of DNA barcoding is of great significance in global biodiversity protection," Li said, adding that countries like Canada and Japan have set up databases.

International Barcode of Life project (iBOL), one of the world's largest, setting up a database of species worldwide, has registered more than three million pieces of information on nearly 200,000 species.

British scientist Richard Lane said that a global database could help in monitoring biodiversity.

"The new technology could be applied in many areas, helping us to fight climate change and to keep human progress sustainable," he added. (Xinhua)

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