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      Can DNA barcoding accurately discriminate megadiverse Neotropical freshwater fish fauna?

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          Abstract

          Background

          The megadiverse Neotropical freshwater ichthyofauna is the richest in the world with approximately 6,000 recognized species. Interestingly, they are distributed among only 17 orders, and almost 80% of them belong to only three orders: Characiformes, Siluriformes and Perciformes. Moreover, evidence based on molecular data has shown that most of the diversification of the Neotropical ichthyofauna occurred recently. These characteristics make the taxonomy and identification of this fauna a great challenge, even when using molecular approaches. In this context, the present study aimed to test the effectiveness of the barcoding methodology (COI gene) to identify the mega diverse freshwater fish fauna from the Neotropical region. For this purpose, 254 species of fishes were analyzed from the Upper Parana River basin, an area representative of the larger Neotropical region.

          Results

          Of the 254 species analyzed, 252 were correctly identified by their barcode sequences (99.2%). The main K2P intra- and inter-specific genetic divergence values (0.3% and 6.8%, respectively) were relatively low compared with similar values reported in the literature, reflecting the higher number of closely related species belonging to a few higher taxa and their recent radiation. Moreover, for 84 pairs of species that showed low levels of genetic divergence (<2%), application of a complementary character-based nucleotide diagnostic approach proved useful in discriminating them. Additionally, 14 species displayed high intra-specific genetic divergence (>2%), pointing to at least 23 strong candidates for new species.

          Conclusions

          Our study is the first to examine a large number of freshwater fish species from the Neotropical area, including a large number of closely related species. The results confirmed the efficacy of the barcoding methodology to identify a recently radiated, megadiverse fauna, discriminating 99.2% of the analyzed species. The power of the barcode sequences to identify species, even with low interspecific divergence, gives us an idea of the distribution of inter-specific genetic divergence in these megadiverse fauna. The results also revealed hidden genetic divergences suggestive of reproductive isolation and putative cryptic speciation in some species (23 candidates for new species). Finally, our study constituted an important contribution to the international Barcoding of Life (iBOL.org) project, providing barcode sequences for use in identification of these species by experts and non-experts, and allowing them to be available for use in other applications.

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          Most cited references 55

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          An inexpensive, automation-friendly protocol for recovering high-quality DNA

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            Universal primer cocktails for fish DNA barcoding

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              DNA barcodes reveal cryptic host-specificity within the presumed polyphagous members of a genus of parasitoid flies (Diptera: Tachinidae).

              Insect parasitoids are a major component of global biodiversity and affect the population dynamics of their hosts. However, identification of insect parasitoids is often difficult, and they are suspected to contain many cryptic species. Here, we ask whether the cytochrome c oxidase I DNA barcode could function as a tool for species identification and discovery for the 20 morphospecies of Belvosia parasitoid flies (Diptera: Tachinidae) that have been reared from caterpillars (Lepidoptera) in Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG), northwestern Costa Rica. Barcoding not only discriminates among all 17 highly host-specific morphospecies of ACG Belvosia, but it also raises the species count to 32 by revealing that each of the three generalist species are actually arrays of highly host-specific cryptic species. We also identified likely hybridization among Belvosia by using a variable internal transcribed spacer region 1 nuclear rDNA sequence as a genetic covariate in addition to the strategy of overlaying barcode clusters with ecological information. If general, these results will increase estimates of global species richness and imply that tropical conservation and host-parasite interactions may be more complex than expected.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                BMC Genet
                BMC Genet
                BMC Genetics
                BioMed Central
                1471-2156
                2013
                9 March 2013
                : 14
                : 20
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Laboratory of Biology and Genetic of Fish, Department of Morphology, Biosciences Institute, State University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
                [2 ]Biodiversity Institute of Ontario and Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada
                Article
                1471-2156-14-20
                10.1186/1471-2156-14-20
                3608943
                23497346
                Copyright ©2013 Pereira et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Research Article

                Genetics

                biodiversity., overlooked species, siluriformes, characiformes, coi, upper paraná river basin

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