Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Google Impact Award goes to CBOL

Today Google launched their Global Impact Awards to support organizations using technology and innovative approaches to tackle some of the toughest human challenges. From real-time sensors that monitor clean water to DNA barcoding that stops wildlife trafficking, the first round of awards provides $23 million to seven organizations changing the world.

Among them is the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) at the Smithsonian Institution that will use its $3 million Impact Awards grant to create and begin implementing DNA Barcoding as an actionable tool for protecting the world’s most endangered wildlife. Working with researchers in six developing countries, CBOL will build a public library of DNA barcodes that law enforcement officials can use to identify confiscated material. The library is supposed to comprise approximately 2,000 endangered species and 8,000 species that are closely related to them or are commonly confused with them. The reference library will be part of GenBank.

Well, first of all, congratulations to CBOL for acquiring this grant. This is a great accomplishment especially in times where funding for biodiversity science is not on top of the list. The greater the news that the money is dedicated to advance the protection of endangered species.

Of course short press releases leave the interested reader with a lot of open questions and I have quite a few but I am sure there will be enough time for a closer look as soon as the project is up and running.

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