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DNA Barcoding

Updated on September 12, 2012

If you purchase a product from a store, did you notice that black and white, thin and thick line with numbers below and that is the unique barcode for that product. According to Oxford Dictionary, a barcode is a machine-readable code in the form of numbers and a pattern of parallel lines of varying widths, printed on a commodity and used especially for stock control and the scanner at the checkout would pick up the different bar codes on the packets and charge the correct amount.

Can we barcode plants and animals? Yes, all species can be barcoded using DNA ie DNA barcoding.

First report about DNA Barcoding published in 2003
First report about DNA Barcoding published in 2003
Father of DNA Barcoding:  Dr. Paul Hebert    Professor,Department of integrative biology, University of Guelph
Father of DNA Barcoding: Dr. Paul Hebert Professor,Department of integrative biology, University of Guelph

DNA barcoding is a standardized approach to identify plants and animals using minimal sequences of DNA. Barcode target should have short (400-800bp) segment flanked by universal primers.

Inside the cell DNA is primarily located in the nucleus, mitochondria & chloroplast (only in plants).

In plants and animals, barcode targets are different due to different evolutionary line.

Animal Barcode Target -CO I

In animals, DNA barcoding target is a short DNA sequence of 600 bp (base pairs) in the mitochondrial gene for cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (CO I). Many projects are going using COI as barcode target in animals.

Mitochondrial genome
Mitochondrial genome
Chloroplast genome
Chloroplast genome

Plant Barcode Targets

Reason for not getting a suitable universal barcode targets in plants are low levels of variability in the mitochondrial DNA and slow evolutionary rate of chloroplast DNA. Thus the challenge has been to find a region that is sufficiently variable for species identification in plants.

A number of candidate gene regions have been suggested as possible barcodes for plants. A combination of following barcode targets are used in plants.

Some of the barcode targets used in plants

  • accD - Acetyl-CoA carboxylase beta subunit
  • rpoB - RNA polymerase beta chain gene
  • rpoC1 - RNA polymerase beta' (β’) chain gene
  • psbA-trnH - Photosystem Q(B) protein- tRNA-His gene
  • mat K - Maturase K
  • trn L-F - tRNA-Leu - tRNA-Phe
  • rpl36-infA-rps8 - ribosomal protein S8 - rpL36
  • rbc L-Large subunit of the ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase gene
  • ndh J - NADH-plastoquinoneoxidoreductase subunit J
  • ITS(Internal Transcribed Spacer)– 16S rRNA in prokaryotes & 18S in eukaryotes
  • YCF 5 - cytochrome c biogenesis protein

DNA Barcoding Methodology

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    • profile image

      Aarumugam VCRC India 5 years ago

      universal primers are very important growth to our new world.

    • deenahere profile image
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      Deena 5 years ago from India

      Unnikrishnan.M.

      Thanks for the visit and comment

    • profile image

      Unnikrishnan.M. 5 years ago

      Wonderful Deena,continue the good work of showing beam of light to the darkness of ignorence in me on the subject.Nice presentation palpable for planets circling in the outermost circle of the stellar system.uk.

    • deenahere profile image
      Author

      Deena 5 years ago from India

      Kris Heeter,

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana

      Great hub! It's amazing how far we have come, from a biological standpoint, in the last 20 years. I still remember the days when it took a year for us to sequence a single gene:)

    • deenahere profile image
      Author

      Deena 6 years ago from India

      Hai GClark,

      Thank you very much.

    • deenahere profile image
      Author

      Deena 6 years ago from India

      Hai jimagain,

      Thanks for your comment.Similar to barcode the stripes on Zebra is unique and also black & white color stripes of Zebra similar to barcode.

    • GClark profile image

      GClark 6 years ago from United States

      Interesting article on a rather esoteric subject. Thanks for sharing. GC

    • jimagain profile image

      jimagain 6 years ago from Hattiesburg, Mississippi

      Interesting take on biological markers borrowing a little supermarket jargon. Makes me wonder if a barcode reader could scan a zebra in a supermarket?