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Science Group Says Article on DNA Barcode Analysis of Herbs Is Flawed, Contains Errors, Creates Confusion, and Should Be Retracted
Date:11/5/2013

author of ABC's critique.

"However," added Blumenthal, "DNA-based analysis is not appropriate when used in some of the ways that the authors appear to have done so, i.e., when trying to use DNA to determine the identity of commercial herb products that may contain plant extracts. It is not clear from the DNA paper whether some of the commercial herb capsules analyzed by the Canadian researchers contained dried powdered herb extracts or not. If they did, then DNA sequencing would not reveal the identity of the labeled plant extract, and might provide confusing results based on other excipient and 'filler' ingredients, or contamination with other DNA that also may be in the capsule."

ABC Chief Science Officer Stefan Gafner, PhD, was interviewed by New York Times reporter Anahad O'Connor for the Times article. During the approximately 15-minute interview, Dr. Gafner enumerated many of the paper's inconsistencies, errors, and potential flaws, none of which were reported by the Times, except for the writer's not confusing Latin names for the herb feverfew, unlike the authors of the DNA paper.

"The article published today in the New York Times, as well as other media stories on this subject, appears to have totally overlooked many of this paper's problems and inconsistencies that we have enumerated in our critique," said Dr. Gafner. The ABC critique lists 10 problems, errors, and areas of confusion in the DNA paper.

The ABC critique also is co-authored by Danica Harbaugh Reynaud, PhD — president and CEO of AuthenTechologies in Richmond, California — and Natascha Techen, PhD, of the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at the University of Mississippi. Both Drs. Reynaud and Techen are experienced in using DNA technology to identify botanical materials, particularly those
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SOURCE American Botanical Council
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