“Father of DNA barcoding” Dr Paul Hebert receives Benjamin Franklin Medal for 2024

2 February 2024

Dr. Paul Hebert, known as "the father of DNA barcoding," has been honoured with the Benjamin Franklin Medal in the Earth and Environmental Science category for 2024 as a testament to his trailblazing contributions to biodiversity science. He is to formally receive one of the most admired awards in science at a ceremony on April 18, 2024 at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, USA.

Hebert’s innovative work goes all the way back to a 2003 paper, where he and his team propose specific methods and terminology as a standardised DNA barcoding approach to species identification with the potential to allocate unknown sequences to higher taxa, such as orders and phyla.

Since then, his scientific contributions have advanced our understanding of global biodiversity, making the identification of species easier, and thereby supporting global conservation efforts. Amongst the numerous applications of DNA barcoding are biodiversity monitoring, pest control and streamlined identification of disease vectors.

He is also the Chief Executive Officer of the International Barcode of Life consortium (iBOL), and the founder and Director of the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics within the College of Biological Science at the University of Guelph

“Paul Hebert’s recognition for his outstanding work is an excellent reminder of the critical role biodiversity studies, as well as innovative thinking play in dealing with global challenges such as the biodiversity crisis,” comments Prof. Dr. Lyubomir Penev, Chair of the Governing Board at the Bulgarian Barcode of Life (BgBOL) and founder and CEO of Pensoft Publishers.

“By formalising a method that streamlines species identification so efficiently, Hebert has truly transformed biodiversity science,” adds Prof. Dr. Georgi Bonchev, Chair of the Executive Board at BgBOL.

The whole BgBOL consortium offers its wholehearted congratulations for a well-deserved recognition and honour to Dr Paul D. N. Hebert. 

Paul Hebert with a lecture on uncovering Earth's biodiversity through DNA barcodes at the 2015 NorBol symposium, Trondheim. Credit: Åge Hojem, NTNU University Museum. Licence: CC-BY 2.0.