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CBOL Protist Working Group: Barcoding Eukaryotic Richness beyond the Animal, Plant, and Fungal Kingdoms

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Audic, Stéphane
Adl, Sina
Bass, David
Belbahri, Lassaâd
Bowser, Samuel S.
Cepicka, Ivan
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Published in PLOS Biology. 2012, vol. 10, no. 11, p. e1001419
Abstract Animals, plants, and fungi—the three traditional kingdoms of multicellular eukaryotic life—make up almost all of the visible biosphere, and they account for the majority of catalogued species on Earth [1]. The remaining eukaryotes have been assembled for convenience into the protists, a group composed of many diverse lineages, single-celled for the most part, that diverged after Archaea and Bacteria evolved but before plants, animals, or fungi appeared on Earth. Given their single-celled nature, discovering and describing new species has been difficult, and many protistan lineages contain a relatively small number of formally described species (Figure 1A), despite the critical importance of several groups as pathogens, environmental quality indicators, and markers of past environmental changes. It would seem natural to apply molecular techniques such as DNA barcoding to the taxonomy of protists to compensate for the lack of diagnostic morphological features, but this has been hampered by the extreme diversity within the group. The genetic divergence observed between and within major protistan groups greatly exceeds that found in each of the three multicellular kingdoms. No single set of molecular markers has been identified that will work in all lineages, but an international working group is now close to a solution. A universal DNA barcode for protists coupled with group-specific barcodes will enable an explosion of taxonomic research that will catalyze diverse applications.
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PAWLOWSKI, Jan Wojciech et al. CBOL Protist Working Group: Barcoding Eukaryotic Richness beyond the Animal, Plant, and Fungal Kingdoms. In: PLOS Biology, 2012, vol. 10, n° 11, p. e1001419. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:77950

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