GUELPH, Canada, April 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Secretariat today announced major new funding for the world's largest biodiversity genomics project. Paul Hebert, iBOL Scientific Director, said that four Canadian agencies have made new commitments totaling $35 million, raising total investments by these funders to $80 million.

Building on an earlier $5 million award, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) today announced another $8.1 million over the next five years to allow expansion of the informatics platform for DNA barcode data.

Genome Canada's Board of Directors also announced that it is extending its support for another year with a second funding installment of $4.6 million. This follows the $2 million it provided in 2009-10 to initiate the iBOL project.

We are grateful for the vision shown by our federal and provincial governments and their science funding agencies, said Dr. Hebert. Their leadership is enabling an initiative that will transform humanity's relationship with other living organisms.

Dr. Hebert announced that official activation of iBOL will be celebrated in Nagoya, Japan, on October 24, 2010 during the 10th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Leaders of iBOL and the CBD Secretariat will sign a Memorandum of Cooperation establishing a framework for future collaboration between the two organizations.

Meanwhile, groundbreaking for the new Centre for Biodiversity Genomics will take place this summer at the University of Guelph. This $18 million facility, funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and MRI, will house the iBOL Secretariat and key infrastructure needed to support iBOL research.

Dr. Hebert also welcomed significant contributions from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada ($1.2 million for new DNA barcoding research programs) and from Canada's International Development Research Centre ($2.2 million to support iBOL participation in Argentina, Costa Rica, Kenya, Peru and South Africa).

Dr. Faustino Siñeriz, Vice-President of Argentina's National Council of Scientific and Technical Research, said the IDRC support reinforced his organization's recent decision to upgrade Argentina's participation in iBOL.

Paul Skelton, Director of the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, said that the funding would make African biodiversity a much more significant part of the iBOL research program.

The International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Project is a research alliance spanning 26 countries and bringing together hundreds of scientists in the task of collecting specimens, obtaining their DNA barcode records and building an informatics platform to store and share this information for use in species identification and discovery. By 2015, iBOL participants will gather DNA barcode records for 5M specimens representing 500K species, an effective identification system for species of economic and social importance and the foundation for subsequent progress towards a barcode reference library for all life.

Contact: John Chenery Tel: +1-519-780-5483

SOURCE: Biodiversity Institute of Ontario - University of Guelph

CONTACT: Contact: John Chenery, Tel: +1-519-780-5483,