DNA barcoding is a taxonomic method that uses a short genetic marker in an organism's DNA to identify it as belonging to a particular species. It differs from molecular phylogeny in that the main goal is not to determine classification but to identify an unknown sample in terms of a known classification. Although barcodes are sometimes used in an effort to identify unknown species or assess whether species should be combined or separated, the utility of DNA barcoding for these purposes is subject to debate.
Applications include, for example, identifying plant leaves even when flowers or fruit are not available, identifying insect larvae (which typically have fewer diagnostic characters than adults), identifying the diet of an animal based on stomach contents or faeces, and identifying products in commerce (for example, herbal supplements or wood).
Famous quotes containing the word dna:
“Here [in London, history] ... seemed the very fabric of things, as if the city were a single growth of stone and brick, uncounted strata of message and meaning, age upon age, generated over the centuries to the dictates of some now all-but-unreadable DNA of commerce and empire.”
—William Gibson (b. 1948)