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Systematic Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Ecol. Evol. | doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00302

Review and Interpretation of Trends in DNA Barcoding

  • 1Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (SI), United States
  • 2American Museum of Natural History, United States
  • 3Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History, United States

Interpretations and analytical practices surrounding DNA barcoding are reviewed from a compilation of 3,756 papers (as of December 31, 2018) with “DNA Barcode” in the title since 2004. By examining the practice of DNA barcoding in natural history and biodiversity science over this period, we explore the extent to which its purposes, premises, rationale and application have evolved. The number of studies involving identification, taxonomic decisions and the discovery of cryptic species has driven the publication of DNA barcode studies overall. Forensic studies and papers on biological conservation involving DNA barcodes have tracked the ensemble number of studies but rose sharply in 2017. Although neighbor-joining and graphic (tree-based) criteria for species delimitation have been preeminent, analytical paradigms have diversified slightly following the growing availability of tools in the Barcode of Life Database (BoLD). We conclude that the paradigms of DNA barcoding data are likely to persist and, in groups such as Lepidoptera, DNA barcoding has become a widely used tool in taxonomic science. The degree to which systematists will avail themselves of tools for extracting diagnostic data from barcodes remains to be seen.

Keywords: DNA barcode, phylogenetics, diagnosis, species delimitation, Specimen identification

Received: 15 Mar 2019; Accepted: 26 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

David S. Thaler, Biozentrum, Universität Basel, Switzerland

Reviewed by:

Rodney L. Honeycutt, Pepperdine University, United States
Mark Stoeckle, The Rockefeller University, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Goldstein and DeSalle. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Rob DeSalle, American Museum of Natural History, New York, United States,