An emergent science on the brink of irrelevance: a review of the past 8 years of DNA barcoding

Authors

  • H. R. TAYLOR,

    1. Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Kelburn Parade, Kelburn, PO Box 600 Wellington, New Zealand
    2. School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Oxford Road, Manchester M1 5GD, UK
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  • W. E. HARRIS

    1. School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Oxford Road, Manchester M1 5GD, UK
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Helen Taylor, Fax: +64 4 463 5331; E-mail: helen.taylor@vuw.ac.nz

Abstract

DNA barcoding has become a well-funded, global enterprise since its proposition as a technique for species identification, delimitation and discovery in 2003. However, the rapid development of next generation sequencing (NGS) has the potential to render DNA barcoding irrelevant because of the speed with which it generates large volumes of genomic data. To avoid obsolescence, the DNA barcoding movement must adapt to use this new technology. This review examines the DNA barcoding enterprise, its continued resistance to improvement and the implications of this on the future of the discipline. We present the consistent failure of DNA barcoding to recognize its limitations and evolve its methodologies, reducing the usefulness of the data produced by the movement and throwing into doubt its ability to embrace NGS.

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