This year, the TiBE – Trends in Biodiversity and Evolution Conference (https://cibio.up.pt/tibe/details/tibe2020) was fully dedicated to Metabarcoding and Metagenomics, which fitted like a glove in one of the INSIGNIA’s objectives: metabarcoding identification of botanical origin of pollen samples diligently collected by many Citizen Scientists from across Europe.
In INSIGNIA, pollen samples have been identified using a cutting-edge molecular method called metabarcoding of the ITS2 (Internal Transcribed Spacer 2) DNA region. ITS2 sequences are generated from DNA isolated from mixed-pollen samples using High-Throughput Sequencing. These sequences are then aligned with ITS2 sequences available in a worldwide database, representing thousands of plant species, for taxonomic identification.
In the framework of INSIGNIA, we sought to compare the performance of metabarcoding identification versus the classical palynological identification that uses light microscopy of pollen grains.
We took TiBES’ opportunity to share with the scientific community, and now with all of you, some of our results and made a presentation entitled “Identification of botanical origin of bee-collected mixed pollen samples: a comparison between palynological and DNA metabarcoding methods”. Interestingly, we found a good correlation between the two methods and suggest that DNA metabarcoding offers a promising alternative to the time-consuming classical palynology for identification of large number of samples. If you want to know more, take a look at Andreia Quaresma’s talk in the INSIGNIA YouTube channel.
Andreia Quaresma and Alice Pinto, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, BRAGANÇA, PORTUGAL