Comparing the effectiveness of protein coding genes to the ITS gene as DNA barcode markers for species-level identification of Penicillium and Aspergillus fungal isolates

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University of New Brunswick


Penicillium and Aspergillus are important genera of fungi in the order Eurotiales that are species-rich and are found living ubiquitously. The ability to identify these fungal species allows researchers to collate and access valuable information associated with these fungi. In recent years, a molecular technique known as DNA barcoding has become a common method used for fungal identification. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) gene was described in 2012 as the universal DNA barcode marker for fungal identifications but has limited sequence variability to identify species of Penicillium and Aspergillus. Protein coding genes; benA and calmodulin may be more effective barcode markers for identifying Penicillium and Aspergillus species, respectively, due to higher interspecific variations in the gene sequences. In the present study, we compare whether it is more effective to identify Penicillium and Aspergillus fungal isolates to the species level using protein coding genes or the ITS gene as barcode markers.