The Natural History Museum is headlining the news that a DNA barcode to identify the world’s plants has been agreed upon. The museum’s article outlines some of the interesting challenges — how to smartly order plants into meaningful bouquets of botanical communities:
Efforts to build DNA barcode databases for animal species have been underway since 2003. However, reaching consensus on which region or regions to use for plants proved more challenging.
Scientists needed to identify a section of DNA that was most suitable for telling most of the hundreds of thousands of plant species apart.
The CBoL (Consortium for the Barcode of Life) Plant Working Group compared the performance of 7 different DNA regions.
As a result, portions of the genes rbcL and matK were selected to be the unique identifiers for plant species . . . .