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!
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences