DNA Barcoding

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DNA Barcoding

Naming is the pre-requirement for cataloguing all information related to an organism in the biosphere. Assigning a scientific name will help avoid the confusion between same organisms known with two different common names in geographically distant locations. Traditional taxonomic approaches rely on the morphological, anatomical, physiological, and behavioural characteristics of organisms to group them into hierarchical categories such as kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. Traditional taxonomy is based on the principles of Linnaean classification, which was developed by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in the 18th century. Traditional taxonomy follows lengthy procedures which needs specialists for each group of organisms, careful observation of the specimens, and it can be affected by factors such as phenotypic variation, cryptic species, and convergent evolution. This may not a be feasible idea when you need to confirm the identity of an organism, which is already identified through classical taxonomic procedures. This is a problem common to both researchers as well as food industries. The solution to this problem is DNA barcoding.

DNA barcoding uses sequence generated from the genome of an organism to name them. This is similar to a barcode on a product that can be scanned to get information about it. DNA barcoding has many applications and benefits in the fields of biodiversity, conservation, ecology, and medicine.

DNA barcoding relies on the availability of a reference database of DNA sequences from known species. The most used DNA barcode for animals is the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase I (COI). With the advancement of sequencing technologies and bioinformatics tools, DNA barcoding has become more efficient, reliable, and accessible. DNA barcoding should be used in combination with other methods of taxonomy and phylogenetics to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the identity and evolution of plants and animals.

DNA barcoding is based on the assumption that each species has a unique DNA barcode that can be compared with a reference database of known sequences. DNA barcoding does not require expert knowledge or morphological examination of the specimens, and it can be applied to any stage of life or any part of an organism. DNA barcoding can overcome some of the limitations of traditional taxonomy, such as identifying morphologically similar or cryptic species, discovering new species, and tracing the origin and authenticity of biological products

Do DNA barcoding replace traditional Taxonomy?

No. DNA barcoding is not a replacement for traditional taxonomy, but rather a complementary tool that can be used in combination with other methods of taxonomy and phylogenetics to achieve a comprehensive and accurate classification of life. DNA barcoding still depends on the availability and quality of the reference database, which is largely derived from traditional taxonomic work.

Our Objectives

Support Researchers to complement/strengthen their datasets with DNA barcoding tool
Encourage traditional taxonomists to follow the polyphasic approach to identify/classify their species of interest with precision
Contribute to the global initiative to discover new species and document every possible diversity of life on Earth

Technical services offered by Enfys

DNA barcoding of Fishes
DNA barcoding of Insects and other invertebrates
DNA barcoding of Plants
Technical guidance for Sample collection and preservation