Addressing some of the biggest ecological challenges we all face, require knowing what species we have in the first place. Although not a new concept, can DNA techniques play an important role in future? Or are they just a novel concept?
An international research project1 has used DNA techniques to describe five new species of lichen forming fungi from what was phenotypically a single species. The results of such studies (i.e. unique DNA barcodes) provide a unique way to identify different species outside of traditional taxonomy.
In order to be truly useful in closing the species information gap, infrastructure must be in place, both internally within an organisation (e.g. equipment and software) and externally (e.g. DNA barcode repositories). Although data repositories, such as GenBank and MarBOL are well established, are other aspects available in widely accessible formats?
What are your thoughts?
1 - http://www.pensoft.net/journals/mycokeys/article/4508/dna-barcode-identification-of-lichen-forming-fungal-species-in-the-rhizoplaca-melanophthalma-species-complex-lecanorales
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