Mitochondrial plastid DNA can cause DNA barcoding paradox in plants

Hyun Seung Park, Murukarthick Jayakodi, Sae Hyun Lee, Jae Hyeon Jeon, Hyun Oh Lee, Jee Young Park, Byeong Cheol Moon, Chang Kug Kim, Rod A. Wing, Steven G. Newmaster, Ji Yeon Kim, Tae Jin Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The transfer of ancestral plastid genomes into mitochondrial genomes to generate mitochondrial plastid DNA (MTPT) is known to occur in plants, but its impacts on mitochondrial genome complexity and the potential for causing a false-positive DNA barcoding paradox have been underestimated. Here, we assembled the organelle genomes of Cynanchum wilfordii and C. auriculatum, which are indigenous medicinal herbs in Korea and China, respectively. In both species, it is estimated that 35% of the ancestral plastid genomes were transferred to mitochondrial genomes over the past 10 million years and remain conserved in these genomes. Some plastid barcoding markers co-amplified the conserved MTPTs and caused a barcoding paradox, resulting in mis-authentication of botanical ingredients and/or taxonomic mis-positioning. We identified dynamic and lineage-specific MTPTs that have contributed to mitochondrial genome complexity and might cause a putative barcoding paradox across 81 plant species. We suggest that a DNA barcoding guidelines should be developed involving the use of multiple markers to help regulate economically motivated adulteration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6112
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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