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Study finds DNA barcoding requires caution without closer examination
Date:6/25/2009

e the trnH-psbA intergenic spacer and the plastid genes rpoC1, rpoB, and matK.

Spooner tested the utility of barcoding in a well-studied but complex plant group, wild and cultivated potatoes (Solanum section Petota). Section Petota includes over 200 species and is widespread throughout the Americas. In his study, 63 ingroup species and 9 outgroup species (in the genera Solanum, Capsicum, and Datura) were used. DNA was extracted from young leaves of single plants. Spooner tested the most frequently suggested DNA barcoding regions for plants: ITS, trnH-psbA, and matK. He found that none of these regions were very accurate at distinguishing or serving as markers for species boundaries in the section Petota. There was too much intraspecific variation in the nuclear ITS region, and the plastid markers did not have enough variation and thus failed to group together some well-supported species. Section Petota is a complex group because, among other things, there is much hybridization among species; some of the species have multiple divergent copies of their DNA arising from past hybridization (allopolyploidy); there is a mixture of sexual and asexual reproduction; and there is possible recent species divergence. Such complications are not uncommon in many plant groups. Spooner concludes that a variety of morphological and molecular approaches are needed, and we cannot rely on a DNA barcode alone to distinguish among species in complex groups such as section Petota.

Spooner extrapolates from the taxonomic difficulties of section Petota to many other groups possessing similar biological traits, and points out that DNA barcoding needs to be accepted with great caution as these groups have not been tested with the technique. He also urges caution against limiting the identification, or in some cases even the definition of a species to a small sequence of DNA. He suggests that the se
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Contact: Richard Hund
rhund@botany.org
American Journal of Botany
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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