BIOSCAN Strategic Plan: Capabilities

BIOSCAN Strategic Plan: Capabilities

One of the strategic goals identified for BIOSCAN is to develop the distributed infrastructure and capabilities needed to support the program.

Please use this topic to discuss the Capabilities goal and how iBOL can implement the strategies identified below.


Develop and operate world-class infrastructure for low-cost sequencing and bioinformatics to support global-scale biodiversity monitoring.

BIOSCAN requires investment in robust and large-scale infrastructure, adequate to support the development of a comprehensive barcode reference library for all eukaryotic species and to accommodate and analyse massive volumes of samples for metabarcoding. This infrastructure may be distributed around the world, but it must provide predictable and well documented best-practice handling and management of specimens and community samples, all the way from field collection through accession in well-managed collections and repositories, DNA extraction and sequencing, to scalable bioinformatics pipelines and trusted data management.

BARCODE 500K and subsequent barcoding activities, both in research and applied uses, has established standards and best practices for many aspects of iBOL’s activity. investments by iBOL members, particularly those by the Canadian government and other funding agencies to the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics in Guelph, have built and funded pipelines that offer cost-effective processing for large volumes of specimens and samples. However, even with increasing efficiency from sequencing and computing platforms, much more capacity will be required for BIOSCAN to achieve its vision. Investment is needed to establish further core facilities around the world, to expand available IT capacity, particularly for mBRAVE, and to support the archival storage of specimens and DNA in secure and trusted collections.

Additionally, work is required for the community to resolve remaining issues and define standards for barcoding and metabarcoding those taxonomic groups that remain challenging with current markers, primers, and platforms.

  1. Support task forces to develop and finalise best-practice approaches for barcoding and metabarcoding challenging taxonomic groups: Evaluate options and develop standards for barcode markers and pipelines offering good taxonomic resolution for all eukaryotic groups.
  2. Expand investment in global sequencing capacity following iBOL standards and best practices and contributing to the BIOSCAN vision: Develop a network of genomics centres offering high-quality and low-cost services for all aspects of barcoding and metabarcoding processes. Discuss
  3. Continue innovation to develop lower-cost solutions for processing and sequencing individual specimens and samples: Optimise all stages from sample collection through DNA extraction, sequencing, archival and bioinformatics to minimise costs for rapid high-quality barcoding and metabarcoding.
  4. Expand investment in data storage and computing capacity for maintenance and growth of BOLD and mBRAVE: Ensure that informatics investment scales adequately to handle growing volumes of DNA and barcode data.
  5. Expand investment in national collections and repositories for persistent and secure preservation of specimens, samples and DNA from BIOSCAN activity: Build on well-curated specimens and archival DNA to ensure that BIOSCAN supports sustainable science outcomes.
  6. Work with the CBD, national governments, and other stakeholders to ensure compatibility between BIOSCAN’s mission and the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) and developing approaches to sustainable use of biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ): Deliver BIOSCAN outcomes via models that address the concerns of international stakeholders regarding ownership and ethics.