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DNA barcoding is a valuable tool to support species identification with broad applications from traditional taxonomy, ecology, forensics, food analysis, and environmental science. We introduce Microfluidic Enrichment Barcoding (MEBarcoding) for plant DNA Barcoding, a cost-effective method for high-throughput DNA barcoding. MEBarcoding uses the Fluidigm Access Array to simultaneously amplify targeted regions for 48 DNA samples and hundreds of PCR primer pairs (producing up to 23,040 PCR products) during a single thermal cycling protocol. As a proof of concept, we developed a microfluidic PCR workflow using the Fluidigm Access Array and Illumina MiSeq. We tested 96 samples for each of the four primary DNA barcode loci in plants: rbcL, matK, trnH-psbA, and ITS. This workflow was used to build a reference library for 78 families and 96 genera from all major plant lineages - many currently lacking in public databases. Our results show that this technique is an efficient alternative to traditional PCR and Sanger sequencing to generate large amounts of plant DNA barcodes and build more comprehensive barcode databases.


Morgan R Gostel, Jose D Zúñiga, W John Kress, Vicki A Funk, Caroline Puente-Lelievre. Microfluidic Enrichment Barcoding (MEBarcoding): a new method for high throughput plant DNA barcoding. Scientific reports. 2020 May 26;10(1):8701

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PMID: 32457375

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