I got an email message on Tuesday (August 26th) from the NSF announcing the publication of an apparently interesting and provocative new paper by Song et al. The message linked to a press-release from NSF (dated August 25th) entitled "DNA Barcodes: Are They Always Accurate?"
According to the NSF Press Release:
"DNA barcoding is a movement to catalog all life on earth by a simple standardized genetic tag, similar to stores labeling products with unique barcodes. The effort promises foolproof food inspection, improved border security and better defenses against disease-causing insects, among many other applications.After repeatedly checking the PNAS Early Edition website all last week, I see that paper in question was finally released on Friday (August 29). It's even fully Open Access!
But the approach as currently practiced churns out some results as inaccurately as a supermarket checker scanning an apple and ringing it up as an orange, according to a new Brigham Young University (BYU) study.The results are published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)."
Hojun Song, Jennifer E. Buhay, Michael F. Whiting and Keith A. Crandall "Many species in one: DNA barcoding overestimates the number of species when nuclear mitochondrial pseudogenes are coamplified" PNAS published August 29, 2008, doi:10.1073/pnas.0803076105