Species identification in complex groups of medicinal plants based on DNA barcoding: a case study on Astragalus spp. (Fabaceae) from southwest China
- 36 Downloads
Species from the genus Astragalus L. (Fabaceae) are distributed throughout the world, with southwest China being one of the distribution centers of this genus. Many Astragalus species are used by local Chinese people as traditional medicines for enhancing immunity. However, the complexity of morphological characters in many Astragalus species makes it difficult to correctly identify them. DNA barcoding is a useful tool for species identification based on standardized DNA markers. In this study, internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region and three chloroplast regions (matK, rbcL, and trnH–psbA) were used for the identification of Astragalus species from SW China. The ITS region showed a high success rate of PCR amplification and bidirectional sequencing, as well as a high discriminatory ability (72%). The matK region also possessed relatively perfect university and had a high discriminatory ability (61%); while the rbcL region, the most popular cpDNA marker, showed good university but low discriminatory ability (44%). We found that the trnH–psbA region was not suitable for identifying Astragalus species because of its low success rate of DNA sequencing. In the studied species, combination of multiple DNA barcodes could improve the discriminatory ability. The ITS region was able to identify frequently used Astragalus species in SW China, such as A. yunnanensis, A. acaulis, A. bhotanensis, and A. camptodontoides, and we concluded that this region could be listed as the core barcode for species identification of medicinal Astragalus species from SW China.
KeywordsAstragalus DNA barcoding Species identification Medicinal plant ITS Southwest China
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 31170313, 81960637 & 31660081) and Yunnan provincial science and Technology Department (Grant No. 2016FB144). The authors thank Chunlei Xiang, Junbo Yang, Jing Yang, and Zhirong Zhang from the Kunming Institution of Botany (CAS) for their help in specimen identification and molecular experiments as well as Liyun Yang from the Institute of Alpine Economic Plant, Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, for her help in collecting specimens and materials for the molecular analyses.
- Chen SL, Yao H, Han JP, Xin TY, Pang XH (2013) Principles for molecular identification of traditional Chinese materia medica using DNA barcoding. China J Chin Mater Med 38:141–148Google Scholar
- Doyle JJ, Doyle JL (1987) A rapid DNA isolation procedure from small quantities of fresh leaf tissue. Phytochem Bull 19:11–15Google Scholar
- Gao LM, Yan L, Phan LK, Yan LJ, Thomas P, Phan LK, Möller M, Li DZ (2016) DNA barcoding of east Asian Amentotaxus (Taxaceace): potential new species and implications for conservation. J Syst Evol 9999:1–9Google Scholar
- Hall TA (1999) BioEdit: a user-friendly biological sequence alignment editor and analysis program for Windows 95/98/NT. Nucleic Acids Symp 41:95–98Google Scholar
- Han BY, Zhang Y, Tian XY, Xiao CJ (2016) Chemical constituents from undergroud part of Astragalus camptodontoides. Guihaia 36(11):1382–1388Google Scholar
- Qian ZG, Jia XY, Dai R, Gu DS (1997) Study on species diversity of medicinal plant, genus Astragalus in Yunnan. J Yunnan Univ Tradit Chin Med 20:4–7Google Scholar
- State Pharmacopoeia Committee (2015) Chinese Pharmacopoeia. China Medical Science and Technology Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
- Tian XY, Han BY, Xiao CJ, Jiang B (2014) Chemical and Biological studies of Astragalus ernestii H.F. Comber. Nat Prod Res Dev 26:188–192Google Scholar
- Xiao CJ, Qiu L, Xu W, Dong X, Jiang B (2015) Chemical constituents from roots of Astragalus englerianus and their anti-oxidative activities. Chin Tradit Herb Drugs 46(1):22–27Google Scholar
- Xu LR, Podlech D (2010) Fabaceae. In: Wu ZY, Raven PH (eds) Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
- Zheng SH, Liu DW, Ren WG, Fu J, Huang LF, Chen SL (2014) Integrated analysis for identifying radix astragali and its adulterants based on DNA barcoding. Evid-Based Complement Altern Med 2014:1–11Google Scholar