Current state and perspectives of fungal DNA barcoding and rapid identification procedures
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Fungal research is experiencing a new wave of methodological improvements that most probably will boost mycology as profoundly as molecular phylogeny has done during the last 15 years. Especially the next generation sequencing technologies can be expected to have a tremendous effect on fungal biodiversity and ecology research. In order to realise the full potential of these exciting techniques by accelerating biodiversity assessments, identification procedures of fungi need to be adapted to the emerging demands of modern large-scale ecological studies. But how should fungal species be identified in the near future? While the answer might seem trivial to most microbiologists, taxonomists working with fungi may have other views. In the present review, we will analyse the state of the art of the so-called barcoding initiatives in the light of fungi, and we will seek to evaluate emerging trends in the field. We will furthermore demonstrate that the usability of DNA barcoding as a major tool for identification of fungi largely depends on the development of high-quality sequence databases that are thoroughly curated by taxonomists and systematists.