Biodiv Sci ›› 2011, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (3): 311-318.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.08239

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The rps4 locus as an alternative marker for barcoding bryophytes: eva- luation based on data mining from GenBank

Yan Liu1, Jianxiu Wang2, Xuejun Ge3,*(), Tong Cao4,*()   

  1. 1 College of Life Sciences, Chongqing Normal University, Chongqing 401331
    2 State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
    3 Key Laboratory of Plant Resources Conservation and Sustainable Utilization, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
    4 College of Life & Environment Sciences, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234
  • Received:2010-11-01 Accepted:2011-02-05 Online:2011-05-20 Published:2013-12-10
  • Contact: Xuejun Ge,Tong Cao


Among the candidate DNA barcoding loci suggested for land plants, only rbcL and trnH-psbA are available for barcoding bryophytes. However, both loci have limitations in discriminating among species. The present study evaluated the feasibility of using the cpDNA rps4 locus as an additional marker to complement other candidate barcodes for bryophytes. We analyzed 3,365 rps4 sequences retrieved from GenBank using pair-wise distance and phylogenetic methods. Our results demonstrated the universality of rps4 in bryophytes; the locus covers 96% of moss families and 88% of liverwort families. The rps4 locus resolved 73.0% of the species we tested. The discriminatory ability of rps4 is better than that of rbcL-a in each of the six bryophyte genera (i.e. Plagiochila, Tortula, Plagiomnium, Pyrrhobryum, Pogonatum, Grimmia) most commonly represented in the database. Moreover, large numbers of rps4 sequences from individuals of known bryophyte identities have been compiled in GenBank, thereby providing a reference for species identification. Therefore, we propose rps4 as an additional barcode, especially when rbcL and trnH-psbA do not perform well in certain bryophyte taxa.

Key words: cryptogamic plants, land plant barcoding, plastid DNA, species identification