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Tomorrow Today

Library of Life - DNA barcodes for the earth's species

An international consortium of scientists is pushing for a database of all the earth's species. They are using DNA barcodes, designed to make the identification of species faster and more accurate than ever before.

Scientists around the world have been charged with collating the genetic data of all the insects, birds, animals and plants found in their countries. Our report visits a German scientist who is involved in compiling this vast inventory of life. The applications of the database, once complete, will range from conservation to pest control or even helping customs officials fight the illegal trade in animals.