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BOLD’s role in barcode data management and analysis: a response


S. Ratnasingham, Fax: 1-519-824-5703; E-mail:


DNA barcoding is a very effective tool for the identification of specimens when a carefully validated and taxonomically comprehensive library of reference DNA barcodes is available. Libraries meeting this criterion are now available for some taxonomic groups in some geographic regions, provoking their use as a tool for the identification of samples that would otherwise remain as unknowns. In this article, we emphasize the need for caution in the interpretation of identifications based on a reference library with entries that have seen limited validation. We also emphasize the need for the deposition of sequence records for ‘unknowns’ so that presumptive identifications can be tested by other researchers and updated as the barcode reference library gains increased coverage and validation.