How Effective Are DNA Barcodes in the Identification of African Rainforest Trees? Public Deposited

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  • Background: DNA barcoding of rain forest trees could potentially help biologists identify species and discover new ones. However, DNA barcodes cannot always distinguish between closely related species, and the size and completeness of barcode databases are key parameters for their successful application. We test the ability of rbcL, matK and trnH-psbA plastid DNA markers to identify rain forest trees at two sites in Atlantic central Africa under the assumption that a database is exhaustive in terms of species content, but not necessarily in terms of haplotype diversity within species. Methodology/Principal Findings: We assess the accuracy of identification to species or genus using a genetic distance matrix between samples either based on a global multiple sequence alignment (GD) or on a basic local alignment search tool (BLAST). Where a local database is available (within a 50 ha plot), barcoding was generally reliable for genus identification (95-100% success), but less for species identification (71-88%). Using a single marker, best results for species identification were obtained with trnH-psbA. There was a significant decrease of barcoding success in species-rich clades. When the local database was used to identify the genus of trees from another region and did include all genera from the query individuals but not all species, genus identification success decreased to 84-90%. The GD method performed best but a global multiple sequence alignment is not applicable on trnH-psbA. Conclusions/Significance: Barcoding is a useful tool to assign unidentified African rain forest trees to a genus, but identification to a species is less reliable, especially in species-rich clades, even using an exhaustive local database. Combining two markers improves the accuracy of species identification but it would only marginally improve genus identification. Finally, we highlight some limitations of the BLAST algorithm as currently implemented and suggest possible improvements for barcoding applications.
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  • Parmentier, I., Duminil, J., Kuzmina, M., Philippe, M., Thomas, D. W., Kenfack, D., . . . Hardy, O. J. (2013). How effective are DNA barcodes in the identification of african rainforest trees? PloS One, 8(4), e54921. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054921
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Deborah Campbell (deborah.campbell@oregonstate.edu) on 2013-06-06T15:20:38Z No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1232 bytes, checksum: bb87e2fb4674c76d0d2e9ed07fbb9c86 (MD5) ThomasDuncanWBotanyPlantPathologyHowEffectiveDNA.pdf: 146481 bytes, checksum: cc8a83d4d0ec9c78b36091b01ae97a6c (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2013-06-06T15:23:10Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1232 bytes, checksum: bb87e2fb4674c76d0d2e9ed07fbb9c86 (MD5) ThomasDuncanWBotanyPlantPathologyHowEffectiveDNA.pdf: 146481 bytes, checksum: cc8a83d4d0ec9c78b36091b01ae97a6c (MD5) Previous issue date: 2013-04-02
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Deborah Campbell(deborah.campbell@oregonstate.edu) on 2013-06-06T15:23:10Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1232 bytes, checksum: bb87e2fb4674c76d0d2e9ed07fbb9c86 (MD5) ThomasDuncanWBotanyPlantPathologyHowEffectiveDNA.pdf: 146481 bytes, checksum: cc8a83d4d0ec9c78b36091b01ae97a6c (MD5)

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