Testing the potential of proposed DNA barcodes for species identification of Zingiberaceae

Lin Chun Shi, Jin Zhang, Jian Ping Han, Jing Yuan Song, Hui Yao, Ying Jie Zhu, Jia Chun Li, Zhen Zhong Wang, Wei Xiao, Yu Lin Lin, Cai Xiang Xie, Zhong Zhi Qian, Shi Lin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


In 2009, the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) recommended the combination of rbcL and matK as the plant barcode based on assessments of recoverability, sequencing quality, and levels of species discrimination. Subsequently, based on a study of more than 6600 samples belonging to 193 families from seven phyla, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) 2 locus was proposed as a universal barcode sequence for all major plant taxa used in traditional herbal medicine. Neither of these two studies was based on a detailed analysis of a particular family. Here, Zingiberaceae plants, including many closely related species, were used to compare the genetic divergence and species identification efficiency of ITS2, rbcL, matK, psbK. psbI, trnH. psbA, and rpoB. The results indicate that ITS2 has the highest interspecific divergence and significant differences between inter- and intraspecific divergence, whereas matK and rbcL have much lower divergence values. Among 260 species belonging to 30 genera in Zingiberaceae, the discrimination ability of the ITS2 locus was 99. 5% at the genus level and 73. 1% at the species level. Thus, we propose that ITS2 is the preferred DNA barcode sequence for identifying Zingiberaceae plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-266
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Systematics and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA barcoding
  • ITS2
  • Identification efficiency
  • Zingiberaceae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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