Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UBC researchers help push for standard DNA barcodes for plants

28.07.2009
Two University of British Columbia researchers are part of an international team recommending standards for the DNA barcoding of land plants, a step they hope will lead to a universal system for identifying over 400,000 species, and ultimately boost conservation efforts.

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!
Further information:
http://www.ubc.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Switch-in-a-cell electrifies life
18.12.2018 | Rice University

nachricht Plant biologists identify mechanism behind transition from insect to wind pollination
18.12.2018 | University of Toronto

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pressure tuned magnetism paves the way for novel electronic devices

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>