Character-based DNA barcoding allows discrimination of genera, species and populations in Odonata

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Rach, J.
DeSalle, Rob
Sarkar, Indra Neil
Schierwater, B.
Hadrys, H.
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Character-based DNA barcoding
Characteristic attributes organisation system
Conservation genetics
DNA barcoding has become a promising means for identifying organisms of all life stages. Currently, phenetic approaches and tree-building methods have been used to define species boundaries and discover 'cryptic species'. However, a universal threshold of genetic distance values to distinguish taxonomic groups cannot be determined. As an alternative, DNA barcoding approaches can be 'character based', whereby species are identified through the presence or absence of discrete nucleotide substitutions (character states) within a DNA sequence. We demonstrate the potential of character-based DNA barcodes by analysing 833 odonate specimens from 103 localities belonging to 64 species. A total of 54 species and 22 genera could be discriminated reliably through unique combinations of character states within only one mitochondrial gene region (NADH dehydrogenase 1). Character-based DNA barcodes were further successfully established at a population level discriminating seven population-specific entities out of a total of 19 populations belonging to three species. Thus, for the first time, DNA barcodes have been found to identify entities below the species level that may constitute separate conservation units or even species units. Our findings suggest that character-based DNA barcoding can be a rapid and reliable means for (i) the assignment of unknown specimens to a taxonomic group, (ii) the exploration of diagnosability of conservation units, and (iii) complementing taxonomic identification systems.
© 2007 The Author et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Proceedings of The Royal Society B 275 (2008): 237-247, doi:10.1098/rspb.2007.1290.
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Proceedings of The Royal Society B 275 (2008): 237-247
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