Project: DNA barcoding of Bamboos-Phase 2

(Under the Annual Action Plan 2018-2019 of BTSG – KFRI)


Bamboos, woody perennials of grass family Poaceae, provide livelihood for millions of people around the globe and have gained importance in recent times as an industrial raw material. India is well endowed with diverse resources of commercially important bamboos with about 136 species under 29 genera including 96 species of native bamboos and 40 cultivated ones. Unlike other plants, flowering in bamboos is an elusive physiological phenomenon since it is unpredictable, long-periodic, gregarious and usually plants die after flowering. Many of them have 30-60 years, even 120 years juvenile phase, and then engage in a suicidal bout of sexual reproduction. Bamboo identification has thus traditionally relied on vegetative structures mainly due to the non-availability of flowers and fruits. The lacks of reproductive material, insufficient representation in herbaria, poor understanding on the morphological variation are the main threats to the conventional bamboo taxonomy.

Thus, certification of bamboo seedlings or planting materials for plantation purposes is a major hurdle that necessitates the need for a precise identification tool to ensure their species identity. Vegetative characteristics currently practised for identification of bamboo species express only at a particular stage of development and cannot generally be practised for identification of nursery seedlings, planting materials and also for the identification of mature wood logs captured during illegal transport. The development of species specific DNA barcodes in all the commercially important species can thus serve as a promising tool for the certification of bamboo seedling/planting materials /mature wood logs. The technique can identify commercially important bamboo species for paper/pulp production as well as for various multipurpose utilities, even at the early development stages of the life cycle.

With the financial support from NBM, Govt. of India for two years, KFRI has developed DNA barcodes for the priority species of bamboos in India. The present project is the Phase 2 of the earlier project on DNA barcoding in bamboos and intends to develop DNA barcodes for other commercially important species of bamboos throughout India specifically northeast.

  1. Development of DNA barcodes of important bamboo species found in India.
  2. To test the validity of developed DNA barcodes
Expected output:
  1. DNA barcodes for most of the commercially important bamboo species in India.
    Bamboo related industries/farmers/taxonomists.