A DNA barcode for land plants

Peter M. Hollingsworth, Laura L. Forrest, John L. Spouge, Mehrdad Hajibabaei, Sujeevan Ratnasingham, Michelle van der Bank, Mark W. Chase, Robyn S. Cowan, David L. Erickson, Aron J. Fazekas, Sean W. Graham, Karen E. James, Ki Joong Kim, W. John Kress, Harald Schneider, Jonathan van AlphenStahl, Spencer C.H. Barrett, Cassio van den Berg, Diego Bogarin, Kevin S. BurgessKenneth M. Cameron, Mark Carine, Juliana Chacón, Alexandra Clark, James J. Clarkson, Ferozah Conrad, Dion S. Devey, Caroline S. Ford, Terry A.J. Hedderson, Michelle L. Hollingsworth, Brian C. Husband, Laura J. Kelly, Prasad R. Kesanakurti, Jung Sung Kim, Young Dong Kim, Renaud Lahaye, Hae Lim Lee, David G. Long, Santiago Madriñán, Olivier Maurin, Isabelle Meusnier, Steven G. Newmaster, Chong Wook Park, Diana M. Percy, Gitte Petersen, James E. Richardson, Gerardo A. Salazar, Vincent Savolainen, Ole Seberg, Michael J. Wilkinson, Dong Keun Yi, Damon P. Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2142 Citations (Scopus)


DNA barcoding involves sequencing a standard region of DNA as a tool for species identification. However, there has been no agreement on which region(s) should be used for barcoding land plants. To provide a community recommendation on a standard plant barcode, we have compared the performance of 7 leading candidate plastid DNA regions (atpF-atpH spacer, matK gene, rbcL gene, rpoB gene, rpoC1 gene, psbK-psbI spacer, and trnH-psbA spacer). Based on assessments of recoverability, sequence quality, and levels of species discrimination, we recommend the 2-locus combination of rbcL+matK as the plant barcode. This core 2-locus barcode will provide a universal framework for the routine use of DNA sequence data to identify specimens and contribute toward the discovery of overlooked species of land plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12794-12797
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Aug 4


  • Species identification
  • matK
  • rbcL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'A DNA barcode for land plants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this