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Micro-computed tomography: Introducing new dimensions to taxonomy

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      Abstract

      Abstract

      Continuous improvements in the resolution of three-dimensional imaging have led to an increased application of these techniques in conventional taxonomic research in recent years. Coupled with an ever increasing research effort in cybertaxonomy, three-dimensional imaging could give a boost to the development of virtual specimen collections, allowing rapid and simultaneous access to accurate virtual representations of type material. This paper explores the potential of micro-computed tomography (X-ray micro-tomography), a non-destructive three-dimensional imaging technique based on mapping X-ray attenuation in the scanned object, for supporting research in systematics and taxonomy. The subsequent use of these data as virtual type material, so-called “cybertypes”, and the creation of virtual collections lie at the core of this potential. Sample preparation, image acquisition, data processing and presentation of results are demonstrated using polychaetes (bristle worms), a representative taxon of macro-invertebrates, as a study object. Effects of the technique on the morphological, anatomical and molecular identity of the specimens are investigated. The paper evaluates the results and discusses the potential and the limitations of the technique for creating cybertypes. It also discusses the challenges that the community might face to establish virtual collections. Potential future applications of three-dimensional information in taxonomic research are outlined, including an outlook to new ways of producing, disseminating and publishing taxonomic information.

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      Most cited references 33

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      MEGA5: molecular evolutionary genetics analysis using maximum likelihood, evolutionary distance, and maximum parsimony methods.

      Comparative analysis of molecular sequence data is essential for reconstructing the evolutionary histories of species and inferring the nature and extent of selective forces shaping the evolution of genes and species. Here, we announce the release of Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis version 5 (MEGA5), which is a user-friendly software for mining online databases, building sequence alignments and phylogenetic trees, and using methods of evolutionary bioinformatics in basic biology, biomedicine, and evolution. The newest addition in MEGA5 is a collection of maximum likelihood (ML) analyses for inferring evolutionary trees, selecting best-fit substitution models (nucleotide or amino acid), inferring ancestral states and sequences (along with probabilities), and estimating evolutionary rates site-by-site. In computer simulation analyses, ML tree inference algorithms in MEGA5 compared favorably with other software packages in terms of computational efficiency and the accuracy of the estimates of phylogenetic trees, substitution parameters, and rate variation among sites. The MEGA user interface has now been enhanced to be activity driven to make it easier for the use of both beginners and experienced scientists. This version of MEGA is intended for the Windows platform, and it has been configured for effective use on Mac OS X and Linux desktops. It is available free of charge from http://www.megasoftware.net.
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        DNA primers for amplification of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I from diverse metazoan invertebrates.

        We describe "universal" DNA primers for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of a 710-bp fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene (COI) from 11 invertebrate phyla: Echinodermata, Mollusca, Annelida, Pogonophora, Arthropoda, Nemertinea, Echiura, Sipuncula, Platyhelminthes, Tardigrada, and Coelenterata, as well as the putative phylum Vestimentifera. Preliminary comparisons revealed that these COI primers generate informative sequences for phylogenetic analyses at the species and higher taxonomic levels.
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          Broad phylogenomic sampling improves resolution of the animal tree of life.

          Long-held ideas regarding the evolutionary relationships among animals have recently been upended by sometimes controversial hypotheses based largely on insights from molecular data. These new hypotheses include a clade of moulting animals (Ecdysozoa) and the close relationship of the lophophorates to molluscs and annelids (Lophotrochozoa). Many relationships remain disputed, including those that are required to polarize key features of character evolution, and support for deep nodes is often low. Phylogenomic approaches, which use data from many genes, have shown promise for resolving deep animal relationships, but are hindered by a lack of data from many important groups. Here we report a total of 39.9 Mb of expressed sequence tags from 29 animals belonging to 21 phyla, including 11 phyla previously lacking genomic or expressed-sequence-tag data. Analysed in combination with existing sequences, our data reinforce several previously identified clades that split deeply in the animal tree (including Protostomia, Ecdysozoa and Lophotrochozoa), unambiguously resolve multiple long-standing issues for which there was strong conflicting support in earlier studies with less data (such as velvet worms rather than tardigrades as the sister group of arthropods), and provide molecular support for the monophyly of molluscs, a group long recognized by morphologists. In addition, we find strong support for several new hypotheses. These include a clade that unites annelids (including sipunculans and echiurans) with nemerteans, phoronids and brachiopods, molluscs as sister to that assemblage, and the placement of ctenophores as the earliest diverging extant multicellular animals. A single origin of spiral cleavage (with subsequent losses) is inferred from well-supported nodes. Many relationships between a stable subset of taxa find strong support, and a diminishing number of lineages remain recalcitrant to placement on the tree.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Department of Zoology-Marine Biology, Faculty of Biology, National and Kapodestrian University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, 15784, Athens, Greece,
            [2 ]Institute for Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, 71003 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
            [3 ]Department of Biology, University of Patras, 26504, Rio, Patras, Greece
            [4 ]Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, 71003 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
            Author notes
            Corresponding author: Sarah Faulwetter ( sarifa@ 123456hcmr.gr )

            Academic editor: V. Smith

            Journal
            Zookeys
            Zookeys
            ZooKeys
            ZooKeys
            Pensoft Publishers
            1313-2989
            1313-2970
            2013
            4 February 2013
            : 263
            : 1-45
            23653515
            3591762
            10.3897/zookeys.263.4261
            Sarah Faulwetter, Aikaterini Vasileiadou, Michail Kouratoras, Thanos Dailianis,  Christos Arvanitidis

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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