7th Metabarcoding Spring School

On May 1-5, 2017 at Parque Biológico de Gaia takes place the 7th Metabarcoding Spring School.

The event is organized by EnvMetaGen together with the Metabarcoding.org team from France. A press release was made in May 2nd 2017 by CIBIO-InBIO and can be found in this link (in Portuguese). The press release has been translated below:


CIBIO-InBIO welcomes DNA Metabarcoding experts and students from around the world at the Gaia Biological Park to explore an innovative technique capable of revolutionizing the study and monitoring of biodiversity.

Imagine that from a glass of water from a brook running in the Serra do Gerês you could know which species are present in this watercourse, including endangered species or invasive alien species. Imagine that from the blood of the last meal of a mosquito you could know what animals that insect stung and if in that blood there are parasites or other pathogenic organisms transmissible to man. It is difficult to imagine, but it is possible today thanks to advanced techniques of molecular genetics. The idea is simple, but its application is complex and requires very specialized equipment that was recently installed in the genetic laboratories of CIBIO-InBIO in Vairão (Vila do Conde). In simplified terms, the technique involves the detection of DNA fragments in water, soil or air, and from these fragments identifies the species that occur in these environments. From bacteria to whales, this technique based on environmental DNA allows us to get to know the living world better from something as simple as a glass of water from a river or a small soil sample.

It is to learn these techniques with some of the world’s leading experts that about 60 Portuguese researchers and postgraduate students from more than 10 countries, travel to the Biological Park of Gaia between May 1 and 5, where they will attend the 7th edition of the International Course on DNA Metabarcoding.

The course has already had editions all over the world (China, Norway, and South Africa, among other countries), and this year is being organized in Portugal for the first time. With all the sessions in English, the course is very intensive, consisting of two days of theoretical lectures (open to a wider audience) and three days of practical classes. With the support of Gaia City Council, the event is co-organized by the EnvMetaGen team, a new research group from CIBIO-InBIO (CIBIO – Research Center on Biodiversity and Genetic Resources / InBIO – Research Network on Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology , Associated Laboratory) funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program and the Metabarcoding.org team, an international research group based in France and a world leader in this type of advanced molecular techniques. This European partnership is one of the results of the efforts of EnvMetaGen, a team led by Profs. Pedro Beja and Simon Jarman, whose main objective is to implement Environmental Metagenomics in the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, control of invasive species, and evaluation and monitoring of environmental quality.

CIBIO-InBIO’s selection of the Gaia Biological Park as a venue for the organization of this event was obvious, given the unique characteristics of the infrastructure, the institution’s vocation for environmental issues related to the inventory, monitoring and conservation of Biodiversity, and the long history of partnership between the two institutions. The course starts this Monday, May 1st at 9:00 am.

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