BopCo is an initiative funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and represents part of the Belgian contribution to the European Research Infrastructure Consortium LifeWatch. The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) and the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) jointly run BopCo.
BopCo aims at supplying identifications of organisms of policy concern and their derived products. Organisms of policy concern include, but are not limited to, endangered species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Invasive Alien Species (IAS), agricultural pest species, human and veterinary disease organisms and their vectors, organisms of the human food chain, forensic species, quarantine species, species with economic impacts, indicator and sentinel species, species of military relevance, etc.
Since the enforcement of regulations regarding these organisms relies on accurate identifications, and because morphological identifications are often not possible (e.g. processed food items), DNA barcoding offers an important additional tool to produce fast and reliable identifications. It uses short DNA sequences as taxonomic ‘barcodes’, which are compared and matched with similar, well-identified sequences in reference databases. For more information on DNA barcoding, please check with the International Barcode of Life project (iBOL), the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) and the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD) on the Barcode of Life website.