ForBio and STI course: DNA barcoding - from sequences to species

ForBio and the Swedish Taxonomy Initiative invites applicants to the course DNA-barcoding - from sequences to species. The course will be held at the charming and well equipped Sletvik field station, about 2 hours drive from Trondheim, Norway.

DNA barcoding has found multiple uses in biodiversity science and management, as well as in authentication and bioinformatics. This five-day intensive course on molecular identification will give a basic introduction to the theory and best-practice of DNA barcoding in biodiversity science and management. Various topics will be presented by recognized experts in the field, and students will actively contribute to their own learning through hands-on exercises and seminars. The following topics will be covered:

  1. Theory. What is DNA barcoding? Which genetic markers are used and why? How does DNA barcoding perform for various taxonomic groups? What are the possibilities and challenges associated with the method? What are the goals of international and national initiatives?
  2. Species identification and delimitation with DNA. Which methods can be used to differentiate species by molecular data? Do different methods and different markers provide conflicting results?
  3. Characteristics of reference databases. Emphasis on BOLD and UNITE as barcode reference depositories. How to retrieve and analyze data and how to use the available tools in these databases. Creating and retrieving datasets for analysis with other software (e.g. MEGA, PTP, ABGD, GMYC).
  4. What are the major uses of DNA barcode data in biodiversity science and management? Phylogenetics, phylogeography, taxonomy, biomonitoring.
  5. Opportunities and challenges with DNA barcoding of plants.
  6. Quality assurance and quality control of barcode reference libraries. Which possibilities exist, and how can you deal with errors?
  7. How to use DNA barcodes in integrative taxonomy? What is it, what are the benefits? Is it ok to describe new species on DNA sequence data alone?
  8. Challenges for international genetic projects in the light of international agreements on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources (e.g the Nagoya Protocol).
  9. The future of DNA barcoding in biodiversity research, including possibilities with advanced sequencing technologies.

Provided skills:

Students will receive theoretical and practical background to understand, perform and critically evaluate the use of DNA barcodes and DNA barcoding in biodiversity research.

They will understand both possibilities and limitations of the method and receive hands-on experience on how to handle biodiversity data available through open access databases.

Required skills:

Basic knowledge in biodiversity science with at least a Bachelor in biology. Some experience with work on molecular data and the use of molecular systematics software is an advantage. Students are expected to read a selection of scientific review papers in advance and familiarize themselves with the BOLD and UNITE databases.


Torbjørn Ekrem – Professor, NTNU University Museum, Trondheim, Norway

Filipe Costa - Associate professor, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal

Galina Gusarova - Researcher, Tromsø Museum, UiT & CEES, UiO, Oslo, Norway

Rakel Blaalid - Researcher, NINA, Bergen, Norway

Maximum number of participants: 20 students, in case of more applicants, participants will be selected based on the scientific, educational and/or professional merit, motivation and usefulness of the course for the applicants, with priority given ForBio members. Results of the selection process will be announced via e-mail shortly after the application deadline.

Target group: PhD students, master students, postdocs, researchers, consultants, government officials with relevant background in biology.

Working language: English

Assignement and credits: The course is equivalent to 2 ECTS (or 3 ECTS if an additional assignment (report) is completed after the course). A written exam will follow the lessons at Sletvik. ForBio will provide certificates for those who successfully pass the exam.

Registration: Please fill in the online application form here. There is no course fee for ForBio members or associates. Travel is covered for ForBio members based at Norwegian institutions. Joint transport from Trondheim will be organized by ForBio.

Find out about how to become a ForBio member/associate here.

Extended application deadline: September 1st, 2019

Contact: Elisabeth Stur, ForBio or Malin Strand, SLU for more information.

Published July 7, 2019 10:06 AM - Last modified Aug. 14, 2019 1:45 PM