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GlobalWG 2.3 – Paleobarcoding

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A window to the past

Chair: Hendrik Poinar,
Researcher, McMaster University,
Hamilton, Canada

Vice-chair: Christian Brochmann,
National Centre for Biosystematics, Natural History Museum,
University of Oslo, Norway

Permafrost deposits are well-known repositories of frozen life and the DNA in these frozen specimens is sufficiently intact to enable the generation of whole genomic sequences. The largest organisms get most of the attention – the exhumation of a woolly mammoth is guaranteed to make the headlines – but the permafrost is also splattered with DNA from a much broader range of small organisms.

The paleobarcoding working group will focus on analyzing these samples. With global warming melting many permafrost deposits, there is no time to waste. The work carried out during Phase 1 of iBOL will determine to what extent this frozen DNA repository can provide a novel historical perspective on the diversity of life.

Goal
Recover and sequence DNA from permafrost and ice cores to gain a novel historical perspective on the diversity of life.

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