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Saudi J Biol Sci. 2014 Jul;21(3):204-31. doi: 10.1016/j.sjbs.2014.03.003. Epub 2014 Mar 31.

The changing epitome of species identification - DNA barcoding.

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Department of Botany and Microbiology, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia.
Institute of Genetics and Biotechnology, St. István University, Gödöllo H-2103, Hungary.
Department of Botany, University of Delhi, Delhi 110007, India.
International Biological Material Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, 111 Gwahangno, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305 806, South Korea.


The discipline taxonomy (the science of naming and classifying organisms, the original bioinformatics and a basis for all biology) is fundamentally important in ensuring the quality of life of future human generation on the earth; yet over the past few decades, the teaching and research funding in taxonomy have declined because of its classical way of practice which lead the discipline many a times to a subject of opinion, and this ultimately gave birth to several problems and challenges, and therefore the taxonomist became an endangered race in the era of genomics. Now taxonomy suddenly became fashionable again due to revolutionary approaches in taxonomy called DNA barcoding (a novel technology to provide rapid, accurate, and automated species identifications using short orthologous DNA sequences). In DNA barcoding, complete data set can be obtained from a single specimen irrespective to morphological or life stage characters. The core idea of DNA barcoding is based on the fact that the highly conserved stretches of DNA, either coding or non coding regions, vary at very minor degree during the evolution within the species. Sequences suggested to be useful in DNA barcoding include cytoplasmic mitochondrial DNA (e.g. cox1) and chloroplast DNA (e.g. rbcL, trnL-F, matK, ndhF, and atpB rbcL), and nuclear DNA (ITS, and house keeping genes e.g. gapdh). The plant DNA barcoding is now transitioning the epitome of species identification; and thus, ultimately helping in the molecularization of taxonomy, a need of the hour. The 'DNA barcodes' show promise in providing a practical, standardized, species-level identification tool that can be used for biodiversity assessment, life history and ecological studies, forensic analysis, and many more.


Biodiversity; Conservation genetics; DNA barcoding; Molecular markers; Plant taxonomy; Species identification

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