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Consider the following statements:

DNA Barcoding can be a tool to:

  1. assess the age of a plant or animal.
  2. distinguish among species that look alike.
  3. identify undesirable animal or plant materials in processed foods.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1 and 2

(d) 2 and 3

Explanation

The correct answer is option (d) – 2 and 3.

The key points are:

  • DNA barcoding is a method of species identification using a short section of DNA from a specific gene or genes.
  • It can be used to:
    • Distinguish among species that look alike. This supports statement 2.
    • Identify undesirable animal or plant materials in processed foods. This supports statement 3.
  • It cannot assess the age of a plant or animal. Hence statement 1 is incorrect.

So statements 2 and 3 are correct.

Learn more

Here are some additional details on DNA barcoding:

  • Common DNA barcode markers:
    • COI gene for animals
    • rbcL and matK genes for plants
    • ITS region for fungi
  • Applications of DNA barcoding:
    • Species identification
    • Detecting fraud and adulteration in food
    • Monitoring biodiversity
    • Forensic investigations
    • Understanding ecology and evolution
  • Advantages:
    • Fast, cheap, and accurate identification
    • Can identify any life stage or processed material
    • Useful for cryptic species that look alike
  • Limitations:
    • Overlap between intra- and interspecific variation
    • Cannot reliably identify hybrids
    • Incomplete reference databases
    • Only identifies to species, not lower taxonomic levels

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