, Volume 143, Issue 2, pp 133–138 | Cite as

Next generation sequencing for characterizing biodiversity: promises and challenges



DNA barcoding approaches are used to describe biodiversity by analysing specimens or environmental samples in taxonomic, phylogenetic and ecological studies. While sharing data among these disciplines would be highly valuable, this remains difficult because of contradictory requirements. The properties making a DNA barcode efficient for specimen identification or species delimitation are hardly reconcilable with those required for a powerful analysis of degraded DNA from environmental samples. The use of next generation sequencing methods open up the way towards the development of new markers (e.g., multilocus barcodes) that would overcome such limitations. However, several challenges should be taken up for coordinating actions at the interface between taxonomy, ecology, molecular biology and bioinformatics in order to develop methods and protocols compatible with both taxonomic and ecological studies.


DNA barcoding Next generation sequencing Taxonomy Metabarcoding Metagenomics 



This article results from a think tank “Prospective Genomique environmentale” inititated by the French Centre National de la Recherche scientifique. The authors thank Eric Coissac, Régis Debruyne, Frédéric Delsuc, Catherine Hänni, Sébastien Lavergne, Morgane Ollivier, Eric Pante, Nicolas Puillandre, Jean-Yves Rasplus and Pierre Taberlet for providing food for thought, and Régis Debruyne for help in making Fig. 2.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Ecologie AlpineUniv. Grenoble AlpesGrenobleFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Ecologie AlpineCNRSGrenobleFrance
  3. 3.Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité, UMR 7205 – CNRS, MNHN, EPHE, UPMCMuséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Sorbonne UniversitésParis Cedex 05France

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