The gametophyte phase of ferns plays an important role in habitat selection, dispersal, adaptation and evolution, but species identification of free-living gametophytes is difficult. Chen et al. use a combination of distance-based and tree-based approaches to evaluate the discriminating power of three candidate barcodes, matK, rbcL and trnL-F, for sporophytes of 16 vittarioid ferns, and generate sequences of the trnL-F region from 15 gametophyte populations by tissue-direct PCR. They find that whilst success rates for matk and rbcL are low, results for trnL-F show good primer universality, sequence quality and species discrimination, and it is thus recommended for identification of gametophytes in the field.
DNA identification of vittarioid gametophytes in the field
DNA identification of vittarioid gametophytes in the field.