Monday, November 9, 2015

Chinese Amphibians

Since 2013, Cold Code, the initiative to barcode all amphibians and reptiles is working to assemble a DNA Barcode reference library. Cold Code is being coordinated out of the Kunming Institute of Zoology (KIZ), Chinese Academy of Sciences. To assure success, the project received start up funding. As a result, Cold Code offers to sequence the first 10 specimens of a species at no cost to an investigator but those requesting the service must submit relevant voucher data associated with the tissue samples. These data include but are not limited to species identification, collecting information locality (with GPS data), voucher specimen number (including image), collectors and steward of the data. 

The colleagues in China now presented some of their progress on amphibian barcoding. A new website, developed by the Kunming Institute of Zoology, provides information on Chinese amphibian species for herpetologists and the general public alike. As you can tell from the screenshot the site is in Chinese but Google translate does a fairly decent job to allow you to explore the site. 

The site currently holds 302 out of the 429 species of Chinese amphibians and according to the press releases all of them have a DNA Barcode. I am not sure if all these sequences are also on public databases such as BOLD or GenBank. The site has an ID engine (based on the BLAST algorithm) available but I wasn't able to access the reference library.

This is great progress for Cold Code and the website shows some very interesting creatures with detailed information on them.

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