Plant Diversity ›› 2013, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (6): 715-724.DOI: 10.7677/ynzwyj201313064

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Evaluating Candidate DNA Barcodes among Chinese Begonia (Begoniaceae) Species

 JIAO  Li-Juan-1、2, SHUI  Yu-Min-1   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences,
    Kunming 650201, China; 2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2013-03-26 Online:2013-11-25 Published:2013-07-12


Begonia is the biggest genus in the Begoniaceae and exhibits high morphological and ecological diversity, making intrageneric classification and species delimitation difficult, especially in the case of closely related species. In this respect, DNA barcoding has the advantage of achieving rapid species identification without relying on morphological characteristics, once a database containing speciesspecific sequences is established. In this study, we tested four candidate plant barcoding regions, including three chloroplast loci (rbcL, matK, trnHpsbA) and one nuclear locus (ITS), in 136 samples representing 26 species of Begonia. The results demonstrated that species identification based on rbcL, matK and trnHpsbA sequences was poor due to low interspecific variation. Conversely, ITS/ITS2 sequences showed significant intra and interspecific divergence enabling a high level of species discrimination (96%-100%). Consequently, ITS/ITS2 could be considered as a potential barcode for identifying Begonia species, which supports the proposal by the China Plant BOL Group that ITS/ITS2 should be incorporated into the core barcode for seed plants.

Key words: Begonia, DNA barcoding, ITS, matK, rbcL, trnH-psbA

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