The DNA Barcode Data Analysis Initiative (DBDAI):
Developing Tools for a New Generation of Biodiversity Data

July 6 - 8, 2006
The National Museum of Natural History, Paris, France

Javier Cabrera, Rutgers University,
Fred Roberts, DIMACS,
David Schindel, National Museum of Natural History,
Michel Veuille, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle,

Presented under the auspices of the DIMACS/BioMaPS/MB Center Special Focus on Information Processing in Biology.

This special focus is jointly sponsored by the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS), the Biological, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences Interfaces Institute for Quantitative Biology (BioMaPS), and the Rutgers Center for Molecular Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry (MB Center).

This workshop is jointly sponsored with the ESF program Integrating population genetics and conservation biology: merging theoretical, experimental and applied approaches (ConGen).

This workshop is an activity of the Data Analysis Working Group of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life. For more information about the activities of this working group, see

The DNA Barcode Data Analysis Initiative (DBDAI): Analyzing and Interpreting a New Generation of Biological Data

Background. In the past two years, a series of studies have been published in which "DNA barcoding" was proposed as a tool for differentiating species. Barcoding is based on the assumption that short gene regions evolve at a rate that produces clear interspecific sequence divergence while retaining low intraspecific sequence variability. The cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 mitochondrial region ("COI") has emerged as a suitable barcode region for most animals. Taxonomists are in the process of identifying appropriate gene regions for barcoding other major groups of eukaryotes. Taxonomic studies of a growing number of taxa have shown that the discontinuity in the levels of barcode sequence divergence (both phenetic and diagnostic) match the species boundaries as delineated by morphological and ecological characters. These studies set the stage for a more in-depth analysis of the relationship between DNA barcode patterns and our understanding of speciation processes and mitochondrial evolution.

The Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL; see is an international consortium of about 70 Member Organizations from six continents and more than 35 nations. These include natural history museums, herbaria, biodiversity and conservation organizations, university departments and other research organizations, government agencies and private sector companies. CBOL is devoted to exploring and developing the potential of DNA barcoding to become a tool for taxonomic research and for applications of species-level data to applied problems such as conservation, crop protection and sustainable development. Four Working Groups have been formed by CBOL, including the Data Analysis Working Group (DAWG) chaired by Dr. Michel Veuille, Director of the Department of Systematics and Evolution in the National Museum of Natural History, Paris.

This workshop is part of the DNA Barcode Data Analysis Initiative (DBDAI), a 24-month international interdisciplinary program of work, sponsored by CBOL and DAWG, that will bring together taxonomists, population geneticists, statisticians, applied mathematicians and computer scientists. The overarching goals of this program of work will be to better understand the relationship between DNA barcode data and population-level genetic processes, and to develop the analytical tools needed to interpret, analyze and archive DNA barcode data . A further goal will be to explore both the potential and limitations of barcoding in the study of natural populations, especially populations of pests and endangered species. See: for more details.

This workshop will address research challenges posed by the DAWG. For more information about these challenges, see

At this workshop, preliminary ideas for approaches to the data analysis challenges involved in DNA barcoding will be presented. Work Teams will submit abstracts of their preliminary results to the Steering Committee, from which participants in the workshop will be selected. Presenters will receive feedback from the Steering Committee and other workshop participants.

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Document last modified on March 22, 2006.