Barcodes based on portions of DNA – the taxonomical equivalent to UPC barcodes on products – have already emerged as a viable solution for uniquely identifying species in many animal groups. However, because DNA varies less between plant species, determining which portions of plant DNA to use as a unique identifier has been a thorny issue.
The research team, which included scientists from more than 20 institutions around the world, selected two genomic regions – genes referred to as rbcL and matK – as the best candidates from which to generate barcode data.
Results of the four-year study are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"It's a pragmatic first step in solving a complex issue," says UBC botanist and Associate Professor Sean Graham, who conducted research on the project and helped author the study. "We've selected areas of DNA that are available in the vast majority of plants, could easily and accurately be sequenced, and when combined, provide a near-unique signature for barcoding."
Limiting the barcode to information generated from two DNA sites should help cut costs associated with sequencing and retrieving the correct information.
The researchers used 400 land plant samples to test the two-site solution. In 72% of cases they were immediately able to determine the correct species of plant, and in the rest of the cases were able to place the plant in a group of congeneric species.
"There's no doubt this will be refined in the future, but there is a need for a core barcoding standard now," says Graham, with the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research, and the Department of Botany. "Particular research projects with special needs could augment the system by adding a third DNA locus to their barcode if required."
Theoretically, any DNA barcoding standard would have to accommodate over 400,000 species of plants, and would be a key step toward establishing a central barcode database for taxonomy, agriculture and conservation.
The 2008 International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List categorized, 8,457 out of an evaluated 12,055 species of plants as endangered, but notes only four per cent of total plant species have been evaluated. Those evaluations tend to focus on areas losing biodiversity and plants families that are endangered. Estimates of the total number of endangered plants vary from 13 per cent to 37 per cent.
Graham worked with UBC post-doctoral fellow Diana Percy on the project, and the international research team included scientists from the universities of Guelph and Toronto, along with scientists from the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, South and Central America, South Africa and South Korea.
Brian Lin | EurekAlert!
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction