1 Tahrcountry Musings: DNA barcoding developed for plants

Thursday, February 07, 2008

DNA barcoding developed for plants

Scientists have developed a barcode that can distinguish majority of the plant species. A small gene, gene matK located in the chloroplast of the plant, is the key to the bardode. DNA barcoding is already a well-established technique in animals. This may not work properly in hybrids as hybrids have their genome rearranged, which may confuse the information provided by matK. In future as sequencing technology gets faster and cheaper, hand held devices at ports and airports could check if illegal species are being transported. Currently, there are only a few experts that could accurately identity the plant composition of biodiversity hotspots in the world. This certainly would come as a big boost for conservation. This path breaking work is reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal


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