Plant Diversity ›› 2013, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (6): 675-681.DOI: 10.7677/ynzwyj201313216

• Articles •     Next Articles

On Barcode of Life and Tree of Life

 CHEN  Zhi-Duan-1**, LI  De-Zhu-2   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences,
    Beijing 100093, China; 2 Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of Botany,
    Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China
  • Received:2013-10-20 Online:2013-11-25 Published:2013-10-24


Barcode of Life and Tree of Life have attracted much attention in the recent decade and are two hotspots in the realm of biology. The authors reviewed the conceptual initiation, research progress, bottlenecks and resolving strategies for both Barcode of Life and Tree of Life, and discussed perspectives of their development and applications in the future. The concept of  Tree of Life have been developed with a long history, while DNA barcoding has been promoted for a decade, and studies on the two subjects have been greatly accelerated by the advances of DNA sequencing technology, bioinformatics and computational biology. Despite of these, objectives of the two subjects are quite different. DNA barcoding aims to rapidly identify species with a short and standard region of DNA sequences, while Tree of Life focuses on exploring the origin of species and reconstructing phylogenetic relationships among organisms. Therefore, different strategies and overall considerations should be made correspondingly to the distinguishable goals of Barcode of Life and Tree of Life. Uncertainty in species circumscription and sampling strategies is addressed as the major bottleneck deterring the development of Barcode of Life and Tree of Life, and appropriate suggestions are provided. Finally the authors suggest that Chinese scientists should take the advantage of the current resources to push forward theoretical accomplishment of the Tree of Life, as well as the application of DNA barcoding through collaboration with engineers from the fields of bioinformatics and computer sciences.

Key words: DNA barcoding, Tree of Life, Barcode of Life Data System, Species barcoder

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