Assessing the potential of candidate DNA barcodes for identifying non-flowering seed plants

Authors

  • X. Pang,

    1. Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substances and Resources Utilization of Chinese Herbal Medicine, Ministry of Education, Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • H. Luo,

    1. Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substances and Resources Utilization of Chinese Herbal Medicine, Ministry of Education, Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • C. Sun

    1. Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substances and Resources Utilization of Chinese Herbal Medicine, Ministry of Education, Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Editor
    T. Peeters

Chao Sun, No. 151 Malianwa North Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100193, China.
E-mail: csun@implad.ac.cn

Abstract

In plants, matK and rbcL have been selected as core barcodes by the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) Plant Working Group (PWG), and ITS/ITS2 and psbA-trnH were suggested as supplementary loci. Yet, research on DNA barcoding of non-flowering seed plants has been less extensive, and the evaluation of DNA barcodes in this division has been limited thus far. Here, we evaluated seven markers (psbA-trnH, matK, rbcL, rpoB, rpoC1, ITS and ITS2) from non-flowering seed plants. The usefulness of each region was assessed using four criteria: the success rate of PCR amplification, the differential intra- and inter-specific divergences, the DNA barcoding gap and the ability to discriminate species. Among the seven loci tested, ITS2 produced the best results in the barcoding of non-flowering seed plants. In addition, we compared the abilities of the five most-recommended markers (psbA-trnH, matK, rbcL, ITS and ITS2) to identify additional species using a large database of gymnosperms from GenBank. ITS2 remained effective for species identification in a wide range of non-flowering seed plants: for the 1531 samples from 608 species of 80 diverse genera, ITS2 correctly authenticated 66% of them at the species level. In conclusion, the ITS2 region can serve as a useful barcode to discriminate non-flowering seed plants, and this study will contribute valuable information for the barcoding of plant species.

Ancillary