The problems and promise of DNA barcodes for species diagnosis of primate biomaterials

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2005 Oct 29;360(1462):1869-77. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2005.1718.


The Integrated Primate Biomaterials and Information Resource ( provides essential research reagents to the scientific community by establishing, verifying, maintaining, and distributing DNA and RNA derived from primate cell cultures. The IPBIR uses mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I sequences to verify the identity of samples for quality control purposes in the accession, cell culture, DNA extraction processes and prior to shipping to end users. As a result, IPBIR is accumulating a database of 'DNA barcodes' for many species of primates. However, this quality control process is complicated by taxon specific patterns of 'universal primer' failure, as well as the amplification or co-amplification of nuclear pseudogenes of mitochondrial origins. To overcome these difficulties, taxon specific primers have been developed, and reverse transcriptase PCR is utilized to exclude these extraneous sequences from amplification. DNA barcoding of primates has applications to conservation and law enforcement. Depositing barcode sequences in a public database, along with primer sequences, trace files and associated quality scores, makes this species identification technique widely accessible. Reference DNA barcode sequences should be derived from, and linked to, specimens of known provenance in web-accessible collections in order to validate this system of molecular diagnostics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Biodiversity*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA Primers
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / genetics
  • Electronic Data Processing / methods*
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / methods*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny*
  • Primates / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA
  • Electron Transport Complex IV