Presenter: S. Willows-Munro – Conservation Genetics Lab, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Pretoria – Metabarcoding is a new method of rapid biodiversity assessment that combines two technologies: DNA-based identification (DNA barcoding) and high-throughput DNA sequencing.

It uses universal PCR primers to mass-amplify standard DNA barcodes from whole collections of organisms or from environmental DNA. It has the potential to revolutionise biodiversity research.

But is South Africa ready to embrace this new technology? This talk provided an overview of the status of the DNA barcode reference library in South Africa. Using examples from some recent metabarcoding studies in her lab Willows-Munro provided comment on the future of metabarcoding in South Africa.