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Beyond Barcodes: Complex DNA Taxonomy of a South Pacific Island Radiation
Michael T. Monaghan, Michael Balke, Joan Pons and Alfried P. Vogler
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 273, No. 1588 (Apr. 7, 2006), pp. 887-893
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25223380
Page Count: 7
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DNA barcodes can provide rapid species identification and aid species inventories in taxonomically unstudied groups. However, the approach may fail in recently diverged groups with complex gene histories, such as those typically found on oceanic islands. We produced a DNA-based inventory of taxonomically little known diving beetles (genus Copelatus) in the Fiji archipelago, where they are a dominant component of the aquatic invertebrate fauna. Sampling from 25 localities on five islands and analysis of sequences from one nuclear (328 bp histone 3) and three mitochondrial (492 bp rrnL, 786 bp cox1, 333 bp cob) gene regions revealed high haplotype diversity, mainly originated since the Pleistocene, and subdivided into three major phylogenetic lineages and 22 statistical parsimony networks. A traditional taxonomic study delineated 25 morphologically defined species that were largely incongruent with the DNA-based groups. Haplotype diversity and their spatial arrangement demonstrated a continuum of relatedness in Fijian Copelatus, with evidence for introgression at various hierarchical levels. The study illustrates the difficulties for formal classification in evolutionarily complex lineages, and the potentially misleading conclusions obtained from either DNA barcodes or morphological traits alone. However, the sequence profile of Fijian Copelatus provides an evolutionary framework for the group and a DNA-based reference system for the integration of ecological and other biodiversity data, independent of the Linnaean naming system.
Proceedings: Biological Sciences © 2006 Royal Society