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      Filling the BINs of life: Report of an amphibian and reptile survey of the Tanintharyi (Tenasserim) Region of Myanmar, with DNA barcode data

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          Abstract

          Abstract

          Despite threats of species extinctions, taxonomic crises, and technological advances in genomics and natural history database informatics, we are still distant from cataloguing all of the species of life on earth. Amphibians and reptiles are no exceptions; in fact new species are described nearly every day and many species face possible extinction. The number of described species continues to climb as new areas of the world are explored and as species complexes are examined more thoroughly. The use of DNA barcoding provides a mechanism for rapidly estimating the number of species at a given site and has the potential to record all of the species of life on Earth. Though DNA barcoding has its caveats, it can be useful to estimate the number of species in a more systematic and efficient manner, to be followed in combination with more traditional, morphology-based identifications and species descriptions. Herein, we report the results of a voucher-based herpetological expedition to the Tanintharyi (Tenasserim) Region of Myanmar, enhanced with DNA barcode data. Our main surveys took place in the currently proposed Tanintharyi National Park. We combine our results with photographs and observational data from the Chaung-nauk-pyan forest reserve. Additionally, we provide the first checklist of amphibians and reptiles of the region, with species based on the literature and museum. Amphibians, anurans in particular, are one of the most poorly known groups of vertebrates in terms of taxonomy and the number of known species, particularly in Southeast Asia. Our rapid-assessment program combined with DNA barcoding and use of Barcode Index Numbers (BINs) of voucher specimens reveals the depth of taxonomic diversity in the southern Tanintharyi herpetofauna even though only a third of the potential amphibians and reptiles were seen. A total of 51 putative species (one caecilian, 25 frogs, 13 lizards, 10 snakes, and two turtles) were detected, several of which represent potentially undescribed species. Several of these species were detected by DNA barcode data alone. Furthermore, five species were recorded for the first time in Myanmar, two amphibians ( Ichthyophis cf. kohtaoensis and Chalcorana eschatia ) and three snakes ( Ahaetulla mycterizans , Boiga dendrophila , and Boiga drapiezii ).

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          Preservation of avian blood and tissue samples for DNA analyses

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            Biological identifications through DNA barcodes.

            Although much biological research depends upon species diagnoses, taxonomic expertise is collapsing. We are convinced that the sole prospect for a sustainable identification capability lies in the construction of systems that employ DNA sequences as taxon 'barcodes'. We establish that the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) can serve as the core of a global bioidentification system for animals. First, we demonstrate that COI profiles, derived from the low-density sampling of higher taxonomic categories, ordinarily assign newly analysed taxa to the appropriate phylum or order. Second, we demonstrate that species-level assignments can be obtained by creating comprehensive COI profiles. A model COI profile, based upon the analysis of a single individual from each of 200 closely allied species of lepidopterans, was 100% successful in correctly identifying subsequent specimens. When fully developed, a COI identification system will provide a reliable, cost-effective and accessible solution to the current problem of species identification. Its assembly will also generate important new insights into the diversification of life and the rules of molecular evolution.
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              A plea for DNA taxonomy

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Zookeys
                Zookeys
                ZooKeys
                ZooKeys
                Pensoft Publishers
                1313-2989
                1313-2970
                2018
                10 May 2018
                : 757
                : 85-152
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Global Genome Initiative, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 10th & Constitution Ave., Washington, DC, 20013 USA
                [2 ] College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park Maryland, 20742 USA
                [3 ] Department of Biology, University of North Carolina Asheville, Asheville, NC 28804 USA
                [4 ] College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, 23187 USA
                [5 ] Myanmar Environment Sustainable Conservation (MESC), Yangon, Myanmar
                [6 ] Department of Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 20013 USA
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Daniel G. Mulcahy ( MulcahyD@ 123456si.edu )

                Academic editor: J. Penner

                Article
                10.3897/zookeys.757.24453
                5958176
                29780268
                Daniel G. Mulcahy, Justin L. Lee, Aryeh H. Miller, Mia Chand, Myint Kyaw Thura, George R. Zug

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Categories
                Research Article
                Amphibia
                Reptilia
                Biodiversity & Conservation
                Cenozoic
                Asia

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