DNA barcodes as a resource for applied species identification: Integration of a character-based diagnostic system

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Authors

Wong, Eugene

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University of Guelph

Abstract

DNA barcoding holds promise as a resource for applied species identification. Like other molecular diagnostic techniques, DNA barcoding bypasses the reliance on morphological attributes, but its major advantage is that it's a standardized system that emphasizes an improved data standard, which allows independent review of records through a voucher specimen and archived supplementary data if necessary. The current maturity of the reference database was able to identify commercially relevant seafood species sampled from North American markets/restaurants. Approximately 25% of the samples from the market survey were potentially mislabeled, raising economic, conservation, and consumer confidence and safety concerns. Despite the market survey success, the distance-based measure used by DNA barcoding may lead to ambiguities due to the continuous nature of its variation, which could be problematic for legal purposes. Single nucleotide diagnostics, a character-based approach, was developed to provide unambiguous species identities based on discrete variation.

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Keywords

DNA barcoding, data standard, voucher specimen, supplementary data, reference database, seafood species, species identification, character-based diagnostic system

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