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Genome. 2017 Jul;60(7):618-628. doi: 10.1139/gen-2015-0167. Epub 2017 Apr 21.

DNA barcoding and traditional taxonomy: an integrated approach for biodiversity conservation.

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Centre for Advanced Studies in Plant Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Department of Biosciences, Saurashtra University, Rajkot 360005, Gujarat, India.


Biological diversity is depleting at an alarming rate. Additionally, a vast amount of biodiversity still remains undiscovered. Taxonomy has been serving the purpose of describing, naming, and classifying species for more than 250 years. DNA taxonomy and barcoding have accelerated the rate of this process, thereby providing a tool for conservation practice. DNA barcoding and traditional taxonomy have their own inherent merits and demerits. The synergistic use of both methods, in the form of integrative taxonomy, has the potential to contribute to biodiversity conservation in a pragmatic timeframe and overcome their individual drawbacks. In this review, we discuss the basics of both these methods of biological identification (traditional taxonomy and DNA barcoding), the technical advances in integrative taxonomy, and future trends. We also present a comprehensive compilation of published examples of integrative taxonomy that refer to nine topics within biodiversity conservation. Morphological and molecular species limits were observed to be congruent in ∼41% of the 58 source studies. The majority of the studies highlighted the description of cryptic diversity through the use of molecular data, whereas research areas like endemism, biological invasion, and threatened species were less discussed in the literature.


DNA barcoding; biodiversity; biodiversité; codage à barres de l’ADN; conservation; integrative taxonomy; taxonomie; taxonomie intégrative; taxonomy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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