Scientists Agree on Plant DNA Barcode Standards

A standard DNA barcode for plants has recently been decided upon by a team of international scientists. The figurative barcode is a short sequence of DNA unique to each species, paving the way for a handheld plant “scanner” used to identify species intercepted from illegal logging operations, or to identify potential toxic plants in emergency situations, thus making the day-to-day work of identifying and studying new species much easier.

Scientists who have studied organisms have built a DNA library of over 60,000 species, but have finally agreed on a single standard, which has been extremely challenging due to the genetic diversity of plants.

While barcoding can only identify about 72 percent of species of plants throughout the world, the process is still being refined. However, by simply agreeing on a standard set of genes for the barcoding process, scientists have made a step in the right direction.