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New Donation Will Help Costa Rica's BioAlfa Project


The 2019 signing of the decree declaring BioAlfa to be of national interest. From left to right: Vice President Epsy Campbell, Winnie and Dan, President Carlos Alvarado, former Environment and Energy Minister Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, ACG Director Alejandro Masís, and First Lady Carla Dobles (photo courtesy of Government of Costa Rica)

On January 5, 2022, the government of Costa Rica announced that it had received a donation of $1 million that will allow it to strengthen its biodiversity inventory. The resources came from the Walder Foundation of Chicago, the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics at the University of Guelph, Canada, and a private Canadian donor. The donation was transferred to the BioAlfa project, an initiative that aims to inventory, through biotechnological tools, all the multicellular wild biodiversity of Costa Rica; it was declared to be of national interest by executive decree in 2019. The funding makes possible the analysis and identification, through DNA barcoding, of all the insects collected in a year, 2020-2021, by Costa Rica National Park (SINAC) officials in nine national parks. This generous donation means that the hundreds of thousands of frozen insect samples can now be identified. The results of the analysis, said Angela González, the director of the National Biodiversity Management Commission (CONAGEBIO), “will enrich the Costa Rican inventory and bring the country closer to the implementation of its own national information.” The BioAlfa initiative, which is facilitated by Drs. Dan Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs, is supported by CONAEGBIO and SINAC, hundreds of Costa Rican citizens, and international scientists. All the information generated by BioAlfa will be integrated into the Biodiversity Knowledge and Information Management Platform, also declared to be of public interest for Costa Rica.