Demiurge project


Project created to make genotype matrices plus ancillary information relevant to their interpretation available to the whole scientific community in the form of 'genetic diversity digests ', and to allow an efficient use of all the existing knowledge on biodiversity's genetic diversity with the help of the T4 capabilities. The Demiurge information system represents a powerful resource for researchers, scientific journals, public administrations with competences on biodiversity, higher educators, and biodiversity managers.

Additional remarks: 

The Molecular Biodiversity Department at the Botanic Garden 'Viera y Clavijo ' - Unidad Asociada CSIC (Cabildo de Gran Canaria) conceived the original idea and software utilities. The Department of Software Engineering at the Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias (Gobierno de Canarias) developed the concept, designed the architecture of the information system, and built the thesaurus wizard web service available through Transformer-4. This institution also maintains and curates the information system and its associated software in its supercomputing facilities. Preservation of genetic resources.Demiurge fosters the enhanced understanding of biodiversity’s genetic diversity through facilitating the unrestrained analysis of the knowledge contained in genotype matrices and ancillary information relevant to their interpretation. It currently receives users from 27 countries. Understandably, scientific journals have strict space constraints that impede their attaching genotype matrices associated with all the empirical molecular population genetic investigations that they publish. However, this limitation brings about at least one negative consequence: each day, important and expensive genetic diversity knowledge is irreversibly frozen in papers that process the information contained in genotype matrices to a very limited extent, usually under only one of many presently possible conceptual scopes. Critically, the absence of a public web repository to make those genotype matrices publicly available in a universal standard that facilitates a versatile statistical analysis prevents many further applications of these data to estimate parameters not considered in the published papers, to use alternative present or future statistical approaches, or to enhance our current understanding of evolutionary change through proper standardisation and meta-analysis. Estimates of genetic variation in natural populations are increasingly important for understanding and conserving biodiversity; however, the hypotheses that they help to substantiate in scientific papers are only an aliquot of the total knowledge contained in the genotype matrices wherefrom they derive. Other potentially useful genetic diversity data either are never published, or they are found in inaccessible media, thus forming a knowledge limbo unattainable for the down-to-earth objectives of most researchers. Such is the case of internal reports, some PhDs, and many other kinds of sound investigation efforts. Substantial amounts of knowledge on biodiversity's genetic diversity remain thus dormant in the entrails of private computers scattered throughout our planet.

Category of best practice: 

Biodiversity management (e.g. conservation ex situ and in situ, sustainable use and exploitation, rehabilitation, management of invasive species, pollutants, pesticides)

Criteria used to define the best practice: 

Applicability/transferability to other regions
Sustainability of projects (i.e. projects remain beyond the given funding)


Jardín Botánico Canario “Viera y Clavijo”-Unidad Asociada CSIC, Cabildo de Gran Canaria (JBCVCSIC)

Contact details: 

Juli Cajaupé (

Geographic region: