Plant Diversity ›› 2013, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (3): 375-385.DOI: 10.7677/ynzwyj201313083

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The Combination of Chloroplast and Nuclear DNA Fragments Could Improve the Discrimination Power for Barcoding Spruce (Picea) Species

 ZOU  Jia-Bin, WANG  Qian, LI  Li-Li, LIU  Jian-Quan   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Grassland AgroEcosystem, College of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2013-04-09 Online:2013-05-25 Published:2013-04-12
  • Supported by:

    科技部科技基础性工作专项重点项目 (2007FY110100)和国家自然科学基金项目 (30930072)


Spruces (Picea), a genus of Pinaceae, are important components of the forests in the Northern Hemisphere. It is relatively difficult to distinguish species by using traditional morphological method due to frequent interspecific hybridization and introgression, and radiative diversification. However, the emerging and developing of the DNA barcoding methods provide an alternative approach. In this study, we tested the discrimination powers between five chloroplast DNA regions (matK, rbcL, trnHpsbA, trnLtrnF and trnStrnG), three nuclear DNA regions (4CL, Sb29 and GI) and the combination of these fragments in spruces. We sampled 83 trees, which represent 19 spruce species mainly from QinghaiTibetan Plateau and also from other regions of China. We used two methods, PWGdistance and TreeBuilding, to conduct barcoding analsyes. A single chloroplast DNA fragment (10.5%-26.3%) or a single nuclear DNA fragment (15.8%-26.3%) always shows low level of species discrimination rate. Although the combination of the chloroplast DNA fragments had higher discrimination rate than the single one, the highest rate of discrimination was only 42.1% for both combinations of trnHpsbA+trnStrnG and trnStrnG+trnLtrnF. And the combination of the nuclear DNA fragments also showed lower rates of discrimination (26.3%-36.8%). It thus appears that it is difficult to discriminate spruce species using only chloroplast DNA fragments or nuclear DNA regions. However, the combination of chloroplast and nuclear DNA regions had higher resolution for identifying spruce species, especially for trnStrnG+trnLtrnF+4Cl, whose discrimination rate can reach up to 57.9%. Therefore, in the future, this combination of fragments from chloroplast and nuclear can be widely adopted for the discrimination of plant species when the normal DNA barcodes fail to work.

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