DNA metabarcoding and the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I marker: Not a perfect match
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© 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. DNA metabarcoding enables efficient characterization of species composition in environmental DNA or bulk biodiversity samples, and this approach is making significant and unique contributions in the field of ecology. In metabarcoding of animals, the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene is frequently used as the marker of choice because no other genetic region can be found in taxonomically verified databases with sequences covering so many taxa. However, the accuracy of metabarcoding datasets is dependent on recovery of the targeted taxa using conserved amplification primers.We argue that COI does not contain suitably conserved regions for most amplicon-based metabarcoding applications. Marker selection deserves increased scrutiny and available marker choices should be broadened in order to maximize potential in this exciting field of research.
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