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BioAlfa Project Featured in Mongabay


A male morpho butterfly (Morpho amathonte) spreads its wings for a first flight in ACG. Photo by Daniel Janzen.

A new article in Mongabay, “Bold Project Hopes to DNA Barcode Every Species in Costa Rica,” by Jeremy Hance, highlights the BioAlfa project, an initiative to use DNA barcoding to identify Costa Rica’s million-plus species. In the article, Hance writes that Drs. Dan Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs “are now in the midst of kicking off something no one has gotten remotely close to since Carl Linnaeus began the systematic describing of species in the mid-1700s. In a project they call BioAlfa, they will attempt to identify every single species in a nation. And not a temperate, low-biodiversity nation, but a life-teeming, bio-rich, jungle country: Costa Rica.” It’s a step “that no other tropical country has taken for its biodiversity,” says Janzen. The article also quotes GDFCF vice president, Dr. Frank Joyce, who says: “BioAlfa will democratize biodiversity, the real treasure of Costa Rica. Wild nature and humanity will both benefit from the BioAlfa process and BioAlfa products. Imagine having a giant warehouse with a million different health-related items. Of what value are these items if we don’t know what is there or how to find them?” The full article can be read here.