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The UN Biodiversity Conference COP15 led to a landmark agreement to guide global action to address biodiversity loss. Bioinformatics has an important part to play in ensuring key questions are answered, such as what species are present, how they interact with others, and how they adapt to their environments. Explore the various projects our scientists are leading or collaborating on to advance this field, from using artificial intelligence to prioritize conservation actions and discover antimalarial properties in plants as well as to exploring how oceans’ microbial biodiversity could be a source of national products

Two ways to learn about biodiversity from the DNA of organisms

By creating a map of the complete genetic makeup of each organism, whole-genome sequencing offers a full picture of how biological systems function or how species respond and adapt to environmental change. 

Barcoding enables rapid species identification through cataloguing short DNA sequences that can be found in samples collected across a wide range of environments. This is critical for conducting conservation monitoring programmes or signalling the presence of potentially dangerous invasive species.

Positioning Switzerland on the topic

As part of the commitment to provide data solutions for challenges in the life sciences, the Environmental Bioinformatics group has been launched at the SIB Hub to address environmental issues such as biodiversity loss. This group will be at the helm of efforts in Switzerland to protect the environment through bioinformatics. This includes activities such as the development of tools and fostering synergies between SIB groups working on this topic. The group is for instance one of the coordinating partners of Biodiversity Genomics Europe (BGE), a pan-European project combining DNA barcoding and genomics to increasingly analyze the state of biodiversity in Europe. Furthermore, multiple SIB Groups are involved in projects including the European Reference Genome Atlas initiative (ERGA) as well as the Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library (BiCiKL). The latter of which aims to provide access to knowledge in biodiversity by creating a ‘Biodiversity PubMed Central.’ These activities, along with the new group at the SIB Hub, further solidify Switzerland’s commitment to tackling the pressing issues surrounding biodiversity loss.