South Africa hosts 7th International Barcode of Life Conference

17 November 2017


The Department of Environmental Affairs, in partnership with the University of Johannesburg will host the 7th International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Conference at Kruger National Park Skukuza Camp from 20 to 24 November 2017.

The International Barcode of Life project (iBOL) is the largest biodiversity genomics initiative ever undertaken. Participants from more than 25 nations are building out infrastructure for the iBOL DNA-based identification system for all multi-cellular life, to identify animals and plants for combating wildlife trafficking, as well as for conservation, ecosystem monitoring, forensics and control of agricultural pests and invasive species.

Hosted for the first time on the African continent, the iBOL Conference will focus on African biodiversity, the increasing usage of DNA barcoding for wildlife forensics and product validation, and a significant rise in studies on environmental DNA, placing a special emphasis on the evolutionary origins, biogeography, and conservation of African flora and fauna. It is an opportunity for South Africa to showcase her involvement in barcoding initiatives across the continent.

The conference coincides with the launch of the LAB-IN-A-BOX, a portable lab that can be deployed to field sites with major applications to wildlife crime and the detection of invasive species. The launch will take place on Monday 20 November 2017 during the LifeScanner training course that forms part of the conference. The LifeScanner application enables people to actively participate in the world's largest biodiversity initiative by contributing data and specimens, and then follow the analytical progress using a mobile app.

The iBOL founder Prof Paul Hebert, from the University of Guelph, Canada, will deliver a keynote address, while researchers will showcase the latest scientific achievements in DNA barcoding tackling socio-economic challenges such as agricultural pests, quarantine and invasive species, wildlife forensics, disease vectors, and marketplace surveys.

Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the conference as per the details below:

Date: 20 – 24 November 2017

Time: 09:00

Venue: Nombolo Mdhluli Conference Centre, Skukuza in Kruger National Park

To RSVP, contact:

Ernest Mulibana
Cell: +27 82 263 7372

Dorcas Lekganyane
Cell: +27 76 874 0072

For media queries, contact:

Albi Modise
Cell: +27 83 490 2871

Luyanda Ndaba - University of Johannesburg
Cell:  +27 82 438 1438

Issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the University of Johannesburg