Q: Where should voucher specimens collected for the "Mammal Barcode of Life" campaign be housed? Do you have a mammal collection?
A: Specimens used as source for reference DNA barcodes must be associated with a voucher deposited with any internationally recognized collection, e.g., national or regional natural history museum. This should ensure their easy accessibility for examination by taxonomists. It is preferred that each specimen record is linked to an online database where its collection data will be publicly available. The records contained in the Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD) can have direct link-outs to these online portals.
The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario has a collection facility and intends to hold a small synoptic collection of mammal vouchers linked to the reference barcode database, as it does for other groups of organisms.
Q: Who will ultimately "own" the DNA generated as a by-product of DNA barcoding analysis or any residual tissue left from the samples sent to the DNA barcoding facility in Guelph? ?
The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario is committed to respecting the intellectual and physical property of its contributors, particularly including internal tissue policies of contributing museums. There are three ways the donor may choose to provide the tissue: donation, permanent loan or temporary loan. These conditions are outlined in more details in the BIO Tissue Policy statement and are specified by the tissue provider in the Biological Materials Transfer Agreement. Loaned tissue and any DNA extracted from it remains to be the property of its original donor and will not be redistributed to third parties, unless a specific request was placed by the donor. It is particularly recommended that tissue sent to BIO on a loan basis contains only the minimum amount of tissue required for one DNA extraction, thereby allowing consumptive analysis. For quality control purposes, BIO intends to keep residual DNA extracts from all tissues submitted for the duration period of iBOL. These extracts will be subject to the same loan conditions as original tissue and, unless donated, will not be redistributed to third parties or used for non-barcoding analyses without permission from the donor. An aliquot of the DNA may be shipped back to the donor upon request.
Q: What is the procedure for collaborators to get more DNA data for specimens besides the COI? If someone is interested in sequencing other gene fragments for phylogenetic or other purposes, can they provide funding to Guelph to have the sequencing done there?
The major focus of the mammal barcoding initiative is mitochondrial COI. However, if common interests arise along projects process and multi-gene analysis is needed (e.g., for studying introgression), running non-COI genes is possible especially if some funds can be allocated to BIO to compensate chemical consumables and technician time. However, the feasibility will depend on the availability of the facilities at BIO and sufficient funding and should be negotiated with the campaign coordinator on a case-by-case basis.
Q: What is the policy on data sharing and authorship?
A: Our policy with respect to authorship and intellectual property rights is outlined in the BIO Tissue Policy statement. Because of the efforts made by collaborators (collecting, curating, identifying, and etc.), they are considered as co-authors of the resultant DNA barcoding publications. On the other hand, we do not automatically demand authorship for other publications, such as taxonomic or phylogenetic works, that are generated merely using the DNA we produce. As a general rule, it is preferred to negotiate the details of co-authorship at the initial stages of each project.
Q: Will the sequences be automatically made public or will they wait until I have published them?
A: The COI sequences will not be publicly accessible unless the project coordinator submits a specific request to make it public. Normally, the collaborator and the project coordinator would come up agreements on how and when to publish the data. The collaborator can also share data with other people whomever he(she) wants to include in the project. The sequence data and progress will be kept confidential between collaborators and project coordinator for a particular project.
Q: What is the typical turnaround time for processing specimens at BIO?
A: All specimens will go through a chain of processes until the data reach the BOLD system. Typically, it takes 2-4 weeks from the tissue lysis step to the final upload of sequences to BOLD. And the process can be speeded up upon urgent needs. However, it is not unusual that the pre-lab steps can take extra time, specifically, entering and reformatting data entries that come with the specimens. To standardize the data format, we will provide some examples that meet the BOLD requirements at later stage.
Q: What are your permit requirements for collecting and export/import?
A: It is the senderís responsibility to ensure that biological materials are shipped to the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario in compliance with any applicable shipping regulations, that they have been obtained under appropriate collection and animal care permits in their country of origin and that the necessary export/import documentation required by Canadian and International customs and conservation authorities has been provided, including, but not limited to:
a) Export permit and/or zoosanitary certificate from the country of origin (if applicable);
b) CITES registry certificate for the provider institution (if applicable);
c) Canadian Food Inspection Agency import permit (if applicable).
The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario cannot be held responsible in the event the provider fails to supply proper shipping documentation, causing the shipment to be held up in customs, or any penalties resulting thereof. Upon request, we can advise on Canadian import requirements and assist in obtaining relevant permits. The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario is a CITES-registered institution (registry certificate CA022). It is advisable that any international transactions involving CITES-listed mammal species are facilitated by a CITES-registered institution, whereby they will qualify as scientific exchange, thus reducing the amount of required paperwork.