J Syst Evol ›› 2011, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (3): 169-175.DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-6831.2011.00128.x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

High universality of matK primers for barcoding gymnosperms

1,2Yan LI 1Lian-Ming GAO* 1,3,4Ram C. POUDEL 1,3De-Zhu Li 5Alan FORREST   

  1. 1(Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650204, China)
    2(Institute of Alpine Economic Plants, Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lijiang 674100, China)
    3(Germplasm Bank of Wild Species in Southwest China, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650204, China)
    4(The Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China)
    5(Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh EH3 5LR, UK)
  • Received:2010-12-23 Published:2011-06-01

Abstract: DNA barcoding is a tool to provide rapid and accurate taxonomic identification using a standard DNA region. A two-marker combination of matK+rbcL was formally proposed as the core barcode for land plants by the Consortium for the Barcode of Life Plant Working Group. However, there are currently no barcoding primers for matK showing high universality in gymnosperms. We used 57 gymnosperm species representing 40 genera, 11 families and four subclasses to evaluate the universality of nine candidate matK primers and one rbcL primer in this study. Primer (1F/724R) of rbcL is proposed here as a universal primer for gymnosperms due to high universality. One of the nine candidate matK primers (Gym_F1A/Gym_R1A) is proposed as the best “universal”matK primer for gymnosperms because of high polymerase chain reaction success and routine generation of high quality bidirectional sequences. A specific matK primer for Ephedra was newly designed in this study, which performed well on the sampled species. The primers proposed here for rbcL and matK can be easily and successfully amplified for most gymnosperms.

Key words: DNA barcoding, matK, gymnosperm, primer universality.