Are reference libraries shared between institutes, i.e. is there a large shared global database (publically) available so conservation/research all over the world can be shared and help other studies in remote areas?

Large publicly available reference libraries do exist. These include the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database, also known as Genbank, and the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD), and these are used as the basis for our species identification pipelines. However, Genbank in particular (which is the most extensive database) is known to contain many errors, so we have applied our own careful curation and quality control measures to a downloaded version and it is this that is used in our pipelines. Although these databases are often incomplete for poorly studied areas, they can be augmented with data from local or private databases and also through barcoding studies (where tissue or swabs from animals identified in the field are sequenced).

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