DNA Barcodes

Volume 858 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology pp 3-8


DNA Barcodes: Methods and Protocols

  • W. John KressAffiliated withDepartment of Botany, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History Email author 
  • , David L. EricksonAffiliated withDepartment of Botany, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History

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DNA barcoding, a new method for the quick identification of any species based on extracting a DNA sequence from a tiny tissue sample of any organism, is now being applied to taxa across the tree of life. As a research tool for taxonomists, DNA barcoding assists in identification by expanding the ability to diagnose species by including all life history stages of an organism. As a biodiversity discovery tool, DNA barcoding helps to flag species that are potentially new to science. As a biological tool, DNA barcoding is being used to address fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions, such as how species in plant communities are assembled. The process of DNA barcoding entails two basic steps: (1) building the DNA barcode library of known species and (2) matching the barcode sequence of the unknown sample against the barcode library for identification. Although DNA barcoding as a methodology has been in use for less than a decade, it has grown exponentially in terms of the number of sequences generated as barcodes as well as its applications. This volume provides the latest information on generating, applying, and analyzing DNA barcodes across the Tree of Life from animals and fungi to protists, algae, and plants.

Key words

DNA barcode Identification Taxonomy Discovery Ecology Evolution