Navigation Links
University of Toronto helps to 'barcode' the world's plants

An international team of scientists, including botanists from the University of Toronto, have identified a pair of genes which can be used to catalogue the world's plants using a technique known as DNA barcoding a rapid and automated classification method that uses a short genetic marker in an organism's DNA to identify it as belonging to a particular species.

"Barcoding provides an efficient means by which we can discover the many undescribed species that exist on earth," says Spencer Barrett, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto and the head of the Canadian plant barcoding working group. "This discovery is important because understanding biodiversity is crucial to long-term human existence on the planet."

DNA barcoding has been widely used to identify animal species since its invention five years ago. But its use for plants was delayed because of the complex nature of plant genetics and disagreements over the appropriate DNA regions to use.

"We compared the performance of the seven leading candidate gene regions against three criteria: ease of obtaining DNA sequences; quality of the DNA sequences; and ability to tell species apart based on a sample of 550 species of land plants", says Barrett. "Based on this global analysis we recommended that matK and rbcL two chloroplast genes are adopted as the DNA barcode for land plants."

The primary application of the methodology will be the identification of the many species in the world's biodiversity hotspots where a shortage of specialists hinders conservation efforts. Other applications include identifying illegal trade in endangered species, identifying invasive organisms, poisonous species and fragmentary material in forensic investigations. The technique will work on minute amounts of tissue and can be used on fragments of plant material, small seedlings, and in some cases digested or processed samples.

The methodology will also be used immediately in global projects such as Tree-BOL which aims to build the DNA barcode database for all the species of trees of the world many of which are of economic and conservation importance.

The report appears this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences under the group authorship of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) Plant Working Group.


Contact: Christine Elias
University of Toronto

Related biology news :

1. University has grand designs to build a house of straw
2. EPA grant to University of Chicago for research on food allergy triggers
3. University of Minnesota research leads to new technology to protect human health
4. Iowa State University researchers develop process for surgical genetic changes
5. University of Miami receives stimulus funds for study of hurricane impacts on structures, ecosystems
6. Promising new treatment for Alzheimers suggested based on Hebrew University research
7. Kornberg Associates Architects Selected to Develop Design for New Stanford University Imaging Center
8. University of Hawaii at Manoa professor published in science journal
9. University of Leicester researchers discover new fluorescent silicon nanoparticles
10. Environmental cues control reproductive timing and longevity, University of Minnesota study shows
11. McGill University receives almost $63 million under CFI program to support five research projects
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/2/2015)... 2015  SRI International has been awarded a contract ... services to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) PREVENT Cancer ... expertise, modern testing and support facilities, and analytical instrumentation ... toxicology studies to evaluate potential cancer prevention drugs. ... Cancer Drug Development Program is an NCI-supported pipeline to ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Va. , Oct. 29, 2015 Daon, ... today that it has released a new version of ... customers in North America have ... IdentityX v4.0 also includes a FIDO UAF certified ... are already preparing to activate FIDO features. These customers ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015 NXTD ) ... focused on the growing mobile commerce market and ... StackCommerce, a leading marketplace to discover and buy ... smart wallet on StackSocial for this holiday season. ... the "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused on ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... Biobanking Market 2016 - 2020 report analyzes that ... integrity and quality in long-term samples, minimizing manual ... cost-effectiveness. Automation minimizes manual errors such as mislabeling ... efficiency. Further, it plays a vital role in ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ANGELES and HOLLISTON, Mass. ... Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: HART ), a biotechnology company ... that CEO Jim McGorry will present at ... December 1, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. PT. The presentation ... below) for 30 days. Management will also be available ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015 Orexigen® ... management will participate in a fireside chat discussion at ... New York . The discussion is scheduled ... .  A replay will be ... Media Contact:McDavid Stilwell  , Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... The United States ... of the 2016 USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green ... or her work with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an ...
Breaking Biology Technology: