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Background

Most of biological research depends upon species diagnoses, but taxonomic expertise is collapsing. More people are convinced that the sole prospect for a sustainable identification capability lies in the construction of systems that employ DNA sequences as taxon 'barcodes' (Paul Herbert et al. 2003). Since then , DNA barcoding has proven to be an invaluable source of information, not only in its applications to forensics and conservation, including the discovery of undescribed species, but also for documenting environmental change, identifying taxa in need of further systematic study, verifying museum tissue collections identifying invasive species, tracking progress in the Genome 10K initiative and many other applications involving the identification of Organisms (Robert W. Murphy et al.2013). Most studies accomplish this task by using the gene encoding cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI; Entrez COX1). Within this barcoding framework, many taxonomic initiatives exist, such as those specializing in fishes, birds, mammals, and fungi. DNA barcoding is now used in China for the successful prosecution of individuals who import animal parts from protected species (J. Che, H-M. Chen, J-X. Yang, J-Q. Jin, K. Jiang, Z-Y. Yuan, L-M.Ding,R.W.Murphy and Y-P. Zhang, unpublished data). Nowadays, a considerable body of research supports the value of DNA barcoding, and new applications are emerging. Currently, intense international interest focuses in this area of research.

Amphibian and Reptile animal are very big and interesting fauna in the world. The fauna combined comprise more than 16200 nominal species. Independently, they rank third and fourth of the five vertebrate groups in terms of species diversity. In comparison, mammals contain about 6000 species, birds about 10000 species and fishes perhaps 30000 species. As of September 21, 2012, Amphibia contains 7036 species, of which 6 206 are frogs, 639 are salamanders and 191 caecilians (AmphibiaWeb 2012; accessed on 23 September 2012). The reptiles consist of 9 547 species (The Reptile Database, numbers updated February 2012; Uetzet al. 2012). Among these are about 5634 species of lizards, 181 amphisbaenians, 3378 snakes, 327turtles, 25crocodilian sand two tuataras (see also Zhang 2011). Numbers of described species are increasing in both amphibians and reptiles. For example, more than 3000 species of amphibians have been described in the last 25 years alone and, unlike for mammals or birds, there is no end to the discovery of new species in sight. The task of DNA barcoding more than 16 000 species seems onerous, yet tissue samples already exist for more than 60% of the species. And what’s more, nearly two-thirds Amphibian and Reptile animal endemic. Unfortunately, 96 (26%) of these species are facing possible extinction (IUCN) (http://www.iucn.org/). DNA barcoding could provide a snapshot glimpse of genetic diversity of the largest number of threatened amphibians and reptile.

In the past , the primers for COI was not universally enough for DNA barcoding in Amphibian and Reptile animal. In 2011, Che et al. reported two new pairs of primers , that in combination serve to universally amplify and sequence amphibians. And 2012, Zolta´n T. Nagy et al. reported a newly developed set of reptile-specific primers for COI. They are working good in Amphibian and Reptile animal and promoting the DNA barcoding development in this fauna.

The formation of Cold Code was announced in 2013 (Robert W. Murphy et al.2013), the international initiative to DNA barcode all species of these 'cold-blooded' vertebrates. The project has a Steering Committee, Coordinators, and a home page. Cold Code focuses on completing the COI database and we are considering the sequencing of 16S rRNA or other mitochondrial markers in select cases. Where possible, we will try to DNA barcode tissues of the same specimens used in multilocus phylogenetic studies to solidly link DNA barcode identifications to respective taxa in the tree of life. Cold Code is also considering the sequencing of a nuclear marker for certain taxonomic groups and geographical regions where advantageous.

Cold Code is being coordinated out of the Kunming Institute of Zoology (KIZ), Chinese Academy of Sciences. To facilitate Cold Code, the Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences will sequence COI for the first 10 specimens of a species at no cost to the steward of the tissues.


Literature Cited

Hebert PDN, Cywinska A, Ball SL, de Waard JR (2003) Biological identifications through DNA barcodes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 270, 313-321.

Jing Che, Hong-man Chen, Jun-xiao Yang, Jie-qiong Jin, Ke Jiang, Zhi-yong Yuan, Robert W. Murphy, Ya-Ping Zhang.(2011) Universal COI primers for DNA barcoding amphibians. Molecular Ecology Resources.

Robert W. Murphy, Andrew J. Crawford, Aaron M. Bauer, Jing Che, Stephen C. Donnellan, Uwe Fritz, Elio F. B. Haddad, Zoltán T. Nagy, Nikolay A. Poyarkov, Miguel Vences, Wen-zhiI Wang and Ya-Ping Zhang. (2013) Cold Code: the global initiative to DNA barcode amphibians and nonavian reptiles. Molecular Ecology Resources13, 161-167

Zolta´n T. Nagy, Gontran Sonet, Frank Glaw, Miguel Vences.(2012) First Large-Scale DNA Barcoding Assessment of Reptiles in the Biodiversity Hotspot of Madagascar, Based on Newly Designed COI Primers. Plos One. March 2012, Volume 7, Issue 3.

Uetz P, Goll J, Hallermann J (2012) The reptile database [web application]. http://www.reptile-database.org. Accessed 23 September 2012.

Zhang Z-Q (ed) (2011) Animal biodiversity: an outline of higher-level classification and survey of taxonomic richness. Zootaxa, 3148, 1-237.