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GlobalPakistan project generates 5K barcodes in 1st year

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Coverage for 1,350 important insect species

barcodebulletin The first year of an ambitious project to barcode all of Pakistan’s economically important insects has generated 5,000 barcode records representing more than 1,350 species, according to a report in the June edition of News and Views, the magazine of Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC).

The HEC-funded project, Sequencing DNA Barcodes of Economically Important Insect Species of Pakistan, is being undertaken by a team from the National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Faisalabad, led by Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq. Sequencing is carried out at the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding in Guelph, Ontario, as part of the International Barcode of Life project.

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The project, which began in April 2010, has produced barcode sequences for both pest and beneficial insects collected from various regions of Pakistan. The sequences are already being used in insect identification and have helped to identify a number of previously unreported agricultural pests. Barcode analysis has also flagged cryptic diversity, highlighting endemic species and further resolving species distribution patterns over time and space.

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Dr. Ashfaq plans to boost the project’s barcode total to 10,000 by the end of this year. Depending on funding, he also wants to expand the utility of the project by including other arthropods such as spiders and mites.

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