Biological Invasions

, Volume 12, Issue 9, pp 2947–2954 | Cite as

Common goals: policy implications of DNA barcoding as a protocol for identification of arthropod pests

  • Robin FloydEmail author
  • João Lima
  • Jeremy deWaard
  • Leland Humble
  • Robert Hanner
Perspectives and paradigms


The globalization of commerce carries with it significant biological risks concerning the spread of harmful organisms. International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 27, “Diagnostic Protocols for Regulated Pests”, sets out the standards governing protocols for the detection and identification of plant pest species. We argue that DNA barcoding—the use of short, standardized DNA sequences for species identification—is a methodology which should be incorporated into standard diagnostic protocols, as it holds great promise for the rapid identification of species of economic importance, notably arthropods. With a well-defined set of techniques and rigorous standards of data quality and transparency, DNA barcoding already meets or exceeds the minimum standards required for diagnostic protocols under ISPM No. 27. We illustrate the relevance of DNA barcoding to phytosanitary concerns and advocate the development of policy at the national and international levels to expand the scope of barcode coverage for arthropods globally.


DNA barcodes ISPM No. 27 COI Insect identification Agricultural pests Forestry pests 



We acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) research program, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Canadian Forest Service (CFS). Additional support was provided by Flowers Canada Ontario (FCO) and the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) through contributions from Canada and the Province of Ontario under the Canada-Ontario Research and Development (CORD) program, an initiative of the federal-provincial-territorial Agricultural Policy Framework, administered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council on behalf of the province, a University of Guelph Faculty Research Assistance Award (to JL), a Forest Investment Account—Forest Science Program Student Grant and an NSERC Graduate Scholarship (both to JdW). We also acknowledge contributions from the Canadian Greenhouse Conference, the Ontario Soybean Growers, the Ontario Wheat Producers’ Marketing Board, and the Forest Investment Account Forest Science Program. This research was also supported through funding to the Canadian Barcode of Life Network from Genome Canada (through the Ontario Genomics Institute), NSERC and other sponsors listed at For comments on the manuscript and other helpful discussions we thank Eric Allen (NRC, CFS), André Levesque (AAFC), Scott E. Miller (NMNH), Paul Hebert & Vernon Thomas (University of Guelph), Dan Simberloff (UT Knoxville) and two anonymous reviewers. Robert Dooh (CCDB, University of Guelph) produced the original version of the image modified by us for Fig. 1.


  1. Armstrong KF, Ball SL (2005) DNA barcodes for biosecurity: invasive species identification. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 360:1813–1823CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnot DE, Roper C, Bayoumi RAL (1993) Digital codes from hypervariable tandemly repeated DNA sequences in the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite gene can genetically barcode isolates. Mol Biochem Parasitol 61:15–24CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Ball SL, Armstrong KF (2006) DNA barcodes for insect pest identification: a test case with tussock moths (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae). Can J For Res 36:337–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barr NB (2009) Pathway analysis of Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae) using mitochondrial DNA. J Econ Entomol 102:401–411CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Benson DA, Karsch-Mizrachi I, Lipman DJ, Ostell J, Wheeler DL (2008) GenBank. Nucleic Acids Res 36:D25–D30CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bogdanowicz SM, Wallner WE, Bell J, Odell TM, Harrison RG (1993) Asian gypsy moths (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae) in North America: evidence from molecular data. Ann Entomol Soc Am 86:710–715Google Scholar
  7. Bogdanowicz SM, Schaefer PW, Harrison RG (2000) Mitochondrial DNA variation among worldwide populations of gypsy moths, Lymantria dispar. Mol Phylogenet Evol 15:487–495CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bortolus A (2008) Error cascades in the biological sciences: the unwanted consequences of using bad taxonomy in ecology. AMBIO J Hum Environ 37:114–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bridge PD, Roberts PJ, Spooner BM, Panchal G (2003) On the unreliability of published DNA sequences. New Phytol 160:43–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Campbell FT (2001) The science of risk assessment for phytosanitary regulation and the impact of changing trade regulations. Bioscience 51:148–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carnegie AJ, Matsuki M, Haugen DA, Hurley BP, Ahumada R, Klasmer P, Sun J, Iede ET (2006) Predicting the potential distribution of Sirex noctilio (Hymenoptera: Siricidae), a significant exotic pest of Pinus plantations. Ann For Sci 63:119–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. CBOL Plant Working Group (2009) A DNA barcode for land plants. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:12794–12797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ekrem T, Willassen E, Stur E (2007) A comprehensive DNA sequence library is essential for identification with DNA barcodes. Mol Phylogenet Evol 43:530–542CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. FAO (2006) ISPM no. 27: diagnostic protocols for regulated pests. International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures 1 to 29 (2007 edition), Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention, Rome, pp 341–352Google Scholar
  15. Floyd R, Abebe E, Papert A, Blaxter M (2002) Molecular barcodes for soil nematode identification. Mol Ecol 11:839–850CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Folmer O, Black M, Hoeh W, Lutz R, Vrijenhoek R (1994) DNA primers for amplification of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I from diverse metazoan invertebrates. Mol Mar Biol Biotechnol 3:294–299PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Gascoine D, Wilson D, McRae C (2000) Quarantine policy in the WTO environment. In: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) annual conference, Canberra, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  18. Hajibabaei M, deWaard JR, Ivanova NV, Ratnasingham S, Dooh RT, Kirk SL, Mackie PM, Hebert PDN (2005) Critical factors for assembling a high volume of DNA barcodes. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 360:1959–1967CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hanner R (2005) Proposed standards for BARCODE records in INSDC (BRIs). Retrieved from on 2006
  20. Hanner RH, Gregory TR (2007) Genomic diversity research and the role of biorepositories. Cell Preserv Technol 5:93–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harris JD (2003) Can you bank on GenBank? Trends Ecol Evol 18:317–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hebert PDN, Cywinska A, Ball SL, deWaard JR (2003) Biological identifications through DNA barcodes. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 270:313–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ivanova NV, Dewaard JR, Hebert PDN (2006) An inexpensive, automation-friendly protocol for recovering high-quality DNA. Mol Ecol Notes 6:998–1002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Leung B, Lodge DM, Finnoff D, Shogren JF, Lewis MA, Lamberti G (2002) An ounce of prevention or a pound of cure: bioeconomic risk analysis of invasive species. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci 269:2407–2413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Meusnier I, Singer G, Landry J-F, Hickey D, Hebert P, Hajibabaei M (2008) A universal DNA mini-barcode for biodiversity analysis. BMC Genomics 9:214CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Mooney HA, Hobbs RJ (2000) Invasive species in a changing world. Island Press, Washington 457 ppGoogle Scholar
  27. Nilsson RH, Ryberg M, Kristiansson E, Abarenkov K, Larsson K-H, Kõljalg U (2006) Taxonomic reliability of DNA sequences in public sequence databases: a fungal perspective. PLoS ONE 1:e59CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Pemberton AW (1988) Quarantine: the use of cost benefit analysis in the development of MAFF plant health policy. In: Clifford BC, Lester E (eds) Control of plant diseases: costs and benefits. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 195–202Google Scholar
  29. Pogue MG, Schaefer PW (2007) A review of selected species of Lymantria Hübner [1819] including three new species (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Lymantriinae). United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, USA, p 223Google Scholar
  30. Por FD (2007) A “taxonomic affidavit”: why it is needed? Integr Zool 2:57–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Powell M (1997) Science in sanitary and phytosanitary dispute resolution. Discussion Paper 97-50, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC, 31ppGoogle Scholar
  32. Ratnasingham S, Hebert PDN (2007) The barcode of life data systems ( Mol Ecol Notes 7:355–364
  33. Ruedas LA, Salazar-Bravo J, Dragoo JW, Yates TL (2000) The importance of being earnest: what, if anything, constitutes a ‘‘specimen examined?’’. Mol Phylogenet Evol 17:129–132CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Simonsen TJ, Brown RL, Sperling FAH (2008) Tracing an invasion: phylogeography of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in the United States based on mitochondrial DNA. Ann Entomol Soc Am 101:899–905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Spreij M (2007) The SPS agreement and biosafety. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO legal papers onlineGoogle Scholar
  36. Walters C, Hanner R (2006) Platforms for DNA banking. In: de Vicente MC, Andersson MS (eds) DNA banks—providing novel options for gene banks? Topical reviews in agricultural biodiversity. International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Italy, pp 25–36Google Scholar
  37. Wheeler TA (2003) The role of voucher specimens in validating faunistic and ecological research. Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods), OttawaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Floyd
    • 1
    Email author
  • João Lima
    • 1
  • Jeremy deWaard
    • 3
    • 4
  • Leland Humble
    • 2
  • Robert Hanner
    • 1
  1. 1.Biodiversity Institute of Ontario & Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Natural Resources CanadaCanadian Forest ServiceVictoriaCanada
  3. 3.Forest Sciences DepartmentUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  4. 4.EntomologyRoyal British Columbia MuseumVictoriaBCCanada

Personalised recommendations