Invertebrate Systematics Invertebrate Systematics Society
Systematics, phylogeny and biogeography
RESEARCH ARTICLE

COI barcoding of Hydroides: a road from impossible to difficult

Y. Sun A , E. K. Kupriyanova B and J. W. Qiu A C

A Hong Kong Baptist University, Department of Biology, 224 Waterloo Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China.

B The Australian Museum, Marine Invertebrates Section, 6 College Street, Sydney, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: qiujw@hkbu.edu.hk

Invertebrate Systematics 26(6) 539-547 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/IS12024
Submitted: 11 April 2012  Accepted: 13 September 2012   Published: 19 December 2012

Abstract

A fragment of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene has been used increasingly for species identification and discovery in eukaryotes. However, amplifying COI has proven difficult, or even impossible, in some taxa due to non-homology between the universal primers and the target DNA region. Among the most problematic animal groups is Serpulidae (Annelida). These sedentary marine animals live in self-secreted calcareous tubes and many of them, especially of the genus Hydroides, are economically important reef-builders, foulers, and biological invaders. We developed novel taxon-specific primers for amplifying COI from Hydroides, and for the first time generated 460-bp COI sequences from 11 of 14 species attempted. Average Kimura-2-parameter interspecific sequence distance (26.2%) was >60 times greater than the average intraspecific distance (0.43%), indicating that the COI gene is effective for species delimitation in Hydroides. Although applicability of the new primers for a wide range of serpulids needs to be tested, barcoding of Hydroides is now on its way from impossible to difficult. We anticipate that COI barcoding will provide a modern species identification tool and, combined with other molecular markers, yield important insights in phylogeny and evolutionary ecology of this large and important genus.

Additional keywords: DNA, polychaeta, serpulidae.


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