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Citation for Study 9933

About Citation title: "DNA barcoding will frequently fail in complicated plant groups: an example in wild potatoes".
About This study was previously identified under the legacy study ID S2271 (Status: Published).


Spooner D. 2009. DNA barcoding will frequently fail in complicated plant groups: an example in wild potatoes. American Journal of Botany, 96: 1177-1189.


  • Spooner D.


DNA barcoding ("barcoding" ) has been proposed as a rapid and practical molecular method to identify species via diagnostic variation in short orthologous DNA sequences from one or a few universal genomic regions. It seeks to address in a rapid and simple way the "taxonomic impediment" of a greater need for taxonomic identifications than the supply of taxonomists. This study tests barcoding with the most variable and frequently suggested plant barcoding regions: the internal non-transcribed spacer of nuclear ribosomal DNA (ITS), and the plastid markers trnH-psbA intergenic spacer, and matK, in a complicated plant group, Solanum sect. Petota; wild potatoes. These DNA regions fail to provide species-specific markers in sect. Petota because ITS has too much intraspecific variation and the plastid markers lack sufficient polymorphism. The complications seen in wild potatoes are common in many plant groups, but they have not been assessed with barcoding. Barcoding is a retroactive procedure that relies on well defined species to function, is based solely on a limited number of DNA sequences that are often inappropriate at the species level, has been poorly tested with geographically well-dispersed replicate samples from difficult taxonomic groups, and discounts substantial practical and theoretical problems in defining species.

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