The National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, has obtained and released DNA barcodes for 2,808 frozen tissue samples of birds. Of the 1,403 species represented by these samples, 1,147 species have not been barcoded previously. The data are deposited in GenBank and the Barcode of Life Data Systems and are described in a form of ‘project description’ of the data release in the open access journal ZooKeys.
“This data release increases the number of bird species with standard barcodes by 91%. It is even more important, however, that the data release and the formal description of the dataset have been announced in a scholarly publication, a ‘data paper’. It allows data creators to be credited for their work, and also communicates to other scientists that such a dataset has been released and is available freely for re-use in future studies”, said the lead author Dr David Schindel from the Consortium for Barcode of Life. "It also sets out the data creators’ near-term plans for the scholarly use of the data and asks others to respect their intent for a six-month period." The paper invites others to use the data for any number of purposes immediately, and to provide feedback on any inconsistencies they find. Schindel said: "We plan to publish a more full description and analysis of the dataset in the coming months, but we saw no reason to deny access to the community and to miss an opportunity for crowd-sourced data curation."
The paper has been published as part of a policy of rapid data release for genome information known as the ‘Fort Lauderdale Principles’ launched for large genomics projects by the Wellcome Trust in 2003. These principles describe a system of shared responsibility, that would be needed in order to create incentives to construct, publish and then use large public genome datasets such as that of the Human Genome Project.
The dataset represents samples from 27 countries (Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Gabon, Greece, Guyana, Iceland, Johnston Atoll, Mariana Islands, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Korea, St. Vincent, Swaziland, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and the former Soviet Union).
Schindel D, Stoeckle M, Milensky C, Trizna M, Schmidt B, Gebhard C, Graves G (2011) Project Description: DNA Barcodes of Bird Species in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, USA. ZooKeys 152: 87-91. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.152.2473