The plant barcoding group meeting here at the end of the 2nd International Barcode of Life Conference in Taipei was as addled with confusion and obfuscation as I had heard it might be. In supreme contrast to animal barcoding working groups (like linkurl:FishBOL),; that are humming along identifying species and thinking about how to attract funding agencies and end users, the plant working group seems to be straining under the linkurl:complexity; of the organisms they seek to catalogue. Plant barcoding needs to employ multiple loci due to the lack of interspecies variability in the portion of the mitochondrial gene, CO1, that serves as the animal barcode, and it is even still unresolved as to where (in the mitochondrial, nuclear, or chloroplast genomes) the most effective plant barcode loci reside. Add this to the fact that some plant taxa, such as linkurl:ferns,; seem not to play nicely by the molecular rules,...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?