Biodiv Sci ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (5): 616-627.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.12059

Special Issue: 物种形成与系统进化

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

DNA barcoding of life: a classification of uses according to function and scale after ten years of development

Nancai Pei*(), Bufeng Chen   

  1. Forest Ecosystem Station of the Pearl River Delta, State Forestry Administration, Research Institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Guangzhou 510520
  • Received:2013-03-07 Accepted:2013-09-04 Online:2013-09-20 Published:2013-10-08
  • Contact: Pei Nancai


DNA barcoding technology provides molecular information, standard dataset platforms, and universal technical regulations for modern biological research. We briefly review the history of DNA barcoding between 2003 and 2012, and classify DNA barcoding into three types of biological function: basic function (e.g., storing data, and identifying species), extending function (e.g., building phylogenies, serving specific subjects, and compiling biological atlas) and potential function (e.g., revealing cryptic species). We sort DNA barcoding studies at three levels: clade scale (e.g., familial and/or generic taxa), community scale (e.g., biotic communities in nature reserves and permanent forest dynamics plots), and regional scale (e.g., biodiversity hotpots). We further list ten major research programs proposed by the International Barcode of Life, which are related to DNA barcoding approaches from the prospective of systematics and taxonomy, biodiversity conservation, evolutionary ecology and phylogenetics, and the construction of digital platforms. We appreciate the huge capability of barcoding technology in the field of biological sciences, and also realize the challenges of DNA barcoding utilizations in multidisciplinary studies and the essential to add more tests before the large-scale applications.

Key words: barcoding technology, biological resource, biodiversity conservation, bioinformation digital platform, modern biology