Microcoding: the second step in DNA barcoding

R.C. Summerbell, C.A. Lévesque, K.A. Seifert, M. Bovers, J.W. Fell, M.R. Diaz, T. Boekhout, G.S. de Hoog, J.A. Stalpers, P.W. Crous

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


After the process of DNA barcoding has become well advanced in a group of organisms, as it has in the economically important fungi, the question then arises as to whether shorter and literally more barcode-like DNA segments should be utilized to facilitate rapid identification and, where applicable, detection. Through appropriate software analysis of typical full-length barcodes (generally over 500 base pairs long), uniquely distinctive oligonucleotide `microcodes¿ of less than 25bp can be found that allow rapid identification of circa 100¿200 species on various array-like platforms. Microarrays can in principle fulfill the function of microcode-based species identification but, because of their high cost and low level of reusability, they tend to be less cost-effective. Two alternative platforms in current use in fungal identification are reusable nylon-based macroarrays and the Luminex system of specific, colour-coded DNA detection beads analysed by means of a flow cytometer. When the most efficient means of rapid barcode-based species identification is sought, a choice can be made either for one of these methodologies or for basic high-throughput sequencing, depending on the strategic outlook of the investigator and on current costs. Arrays and functionally similar platforms may have a particular advantage when a biologically complex material such as soil or a human respiratory secretion sample is analysed to give a census of relevant species present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1897-1903
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Series B, Biological Sciences
Issue number1462
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • mycobacterium-tuberculosis
  • molecular taxonomy
  • identification
  • fungi
  • complex
  • yeasts
  • differentiation
  • hybridization
  • systematics
  • phylogeny


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