Plant Diversity ›› 2013, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (6): 733-741.DOI: 10.7677/ynzwyj201313171

• Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

DNA Barcoding of Subtropical Forest Trees——A Study from Ailao Mountains Nature Reserve, Yunnan, China

 Lu  Meng-Meng-1、2, CI  Xiu-Qin-1、2, YANG  Guo-Ping-1, LI  Jie-1   

  1. 1 Laboratory of Plant Phylogenetics and Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy
    of Science, Kunming 650223, China; 2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2013-09-04 Online:2013-11-25 Published:2013-10-14


To evaluate how effective DNA barcoding is for the identification of subtropical forest trees, we sampled 525 individuals representing 204 species in 111 genera of 51 plant families that occur in the Ailao Mountains Nature Reserve, and tested the ability of rbcL, matK, trnHpsbA and ITS sequences to discriminate species. PCR success was over 90% for each of these four sequences, while sequencing success rate was highest for rbcL and matK (90.7% and 90.5%, respectively), followed by trnHpsbA (83.6%), and lowest for ITS (73.7%). Thus, all four sequences showed a relatively high level of applicability for subtropical forest trees that occur in the Ailaoshan Mountains Nature Reserve. Using two different “species identification” methods - BLAST and Neighbor Joining (NJ)—the highest rate of success for identification at species (68.4%-81.3%) and genus (99.0%-100%) levels was obtained using ITS when only a single region was used. When two molecular regions were used in combination, rbcL and matK correctly identified 52.8%-60.2% of species and 86.7%-90.5% of genera, while using all four regions in combination correctly discriminated 74.7%-79.6% of species. The relatively low sequencing success rate of ITS was mainly due to failure in certain groups (such as Lauraceae and Fagaceae), which play an important role in subtropical forest, suggesting that the ITS region may not be appropriate for DNA barcoding these particular plant groups.

Key words: DNA barcode, Subtropical forest trees, Ailao Mountains Nature Reserve, Species identification, ITS

CLC Number: