international online community for dna barcoding professionals
The aims of the workshop were to discuss DNA barcoding applications, to take a census of Italian public and private labs that rely on this method, and to evaluate the possibility to organize an Italian network that would promote and encourage the coordination among research groups and the diffusion of DNA barcoding methods. The workshop was organized in order to be clear to both DNA barcoding veteran researchers and by newcomers.
The workshop concluded with an open discussion on the theme “Which perspectives in order to create a national Italian consortium of DNA barcoding?”. The result of this discussion was the proposal of the creation of an Italian Network for DNA barcoding, whose initials aims will be:
- Take a census of research groups that utilize DNA barcoding in Italy;
- Take a census of research projects (both submitted and granted) that utilize DNA barcoding;
- To lend support (formation, counseling, services) to research groups that are beginners in DNA barcoding;
- To interface with other international and national consortia and networks;
- To develop relations and collaborations between private companies and public institutions;
- To facilitate the creation of large research groups to obtain local, national and international researching grants.
A website will be soon launched in order to serve as virtual platform with which achieve these objectives.
Different topics have been tackled during the workshop, such as definition and scope of DNA barcoding; methods and protocols to apply in order to obtain standardized results; an overview on biological and molecular databases useful for DNA barcoding; different problems arising when studying animal and plant organisms; issues concerning mitochondrial DNA genome; new applications of pyrosequencing in DNA barcoding, the use of museum collections for systematics and phylogenetics studies and the potentiality of practical application of DNA barcoding. Speakers were both University and Private Companies researchers.
During the discussion it has emerged that Scientific Societies have to be involved in the network’s activities; moreover, the fact that different Societies participated in the organization and advertising of the event was well received. DNA barcoding is a method utilized in different scientific fields, and the network will involve zoologists, botanists, mycologists, protistologists, agronomists, veterinarians, parasitologists, ecologists, bioinformaticians, genetists, etc.
The network will also promote relations with private companies and will highlight the applicative potentialities of DNA barcoding to the public opinion and institutions.
The workshop was an unexpected success, with more than 130 participants, and thanks to the students of the University, the attendance each day was more than 180 people. The high level of presentations and the interest of the participants has contributed to the discussions and to fulfill the aims that the workshop aspired to accomplish.
The workshop has been organized by the Italian Society of Evolutionary Biology (SIBE-ISEB), Italian Botanical Society (SBI), the Italian Zoological Union (UZI), and the Department of Biology of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
The organizers were Maurizio Casiraghi and Massimo Labra (University of Milan Bicocca) and Mauro Mandrioli, Roberto Guidetti, Michele Cesari and Roberto Bertolani (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia).