J Syst Evol ›› 2016, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (1): 83-91.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12166

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

DNA barcodes identify Chinese medicinal plants and detect geographical patterns of Sinosenecio (Asteraceae)

Wei Gong1†, Ying Liu2†, Jing Chen3, Yu Hong4,5, and Hang-Hui Kong4*   

  1. 1College of Life Sciences, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China
    2School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
    3College of Life Science, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, China
    4Key Laboratory of Plant Resources Conservation and Sustainable Utilization, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China
    5University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • Received:2015-04-08 Published:2016-01-14

Abstract: DNA barcodes have proved to be efficient for plants species discrimination and identification using short and standardized genomic regions. The genus Sinosenecio(Asteraceae) is used for traditional medicinal purposes in China. Most species of the genus occur in restricted geographical regions and exhibit a wide range of morphological variations within species, making them difficult to differentiate in the field. Previously, taxonomic revisions have been made based on morphological and cytological evidence. In the present study, barcoding analysis was performed on 107 individuals representing 38 species in this genus to evaluate the performance of four candidate barcoding loci (matK, rbcL, trnH-psbA and internal transcribed spacer [ITS]) and detect geographical patterns. Three different methods based on genetic distance, sequence similarity, and the phylogenetic tree were used. Comparably high species discrimination power was detected in species-level taxonomic process by the ITS dataset alone or combined with other loci, which was suggested to be the most suitable barcode for Sinosenecio. Our results are congruent with previous taxonomic studies concerning the monophyly of the S. oldhamianus group. The present study provides an empirical paradigm for the identification of medicinal plant species and their geographical patterns, ascertaining the congruence between taxonomical studies and barcoding analysis inSinosenecio.

Key words: DNA barcoding, geographical patterns, Sinosenecio, species identification