What about species that are not (yet) in the reference library – species yet unknown to science?
Species not yet in the reference database cannot be definitively identified without obtaining a reference sequence. However, in many cases there are sufficient references from congeneric species to make a confident identification at genus-level. In a scenario where only one representative of that genus is expected in the sampled community, a putative species label can be associated with the metabarcoding sequence we generate, pending confirmation from reference material. Species unknown to science would similarly be identified as best we can given their similarity with available reference data, but we cannot distinguish between gaps in the reference database and gaps in taxonomic knowledge.
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