DNA barcoding identifies argentine fishes from marine and brackish waters

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Abstract

Background: DNA barcoding has been advanced as a promising tool to aid species identification and discovery through the use of short, standardized gene targets. Despite extensive taxonomic studies, for a variety of reasons the identification of fishes can be problematic, even for experts. DNA barcoding is proving to be a useful tool in this context. However, its broad application is impeded by the need to construct a comprehensive reference sequence library for all fish species. Here, we make a regional contribution to this grand challenge by calibrating the species discrimination efficiency of barcoding among 125 Argentine fish species, representing nearly one third of the known fauna, and examine the utility of these data to address several key taxonomic uncertainties pertaining to species in this region. Methodology/Principal Findings: Specimens were collected and morphologically identified during crusies conducted between 2005 and 2008. The standard BARCODE fragment of COI was amplified and bi-directionally sequenced from 577 specimens (mean of 5 specimens/species), and all specimens and sequence data were archived and interrogated using analytical tools available on the Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD; www.barcodinglife.org). Nearly all species exhibited discrete clusters of closely related haplogroups which permitted the discrimination of 95% of the species (i.e. 119/125) examined while cases of shared haplotypes were detected among just three species-pairs. Notably, barcoding aided the identification of a new species of skate, Dipturus argentinensis, permitted the recognition of Genypterus brasiliensis as a valid species and questions the generic assignment of Paralichthys isosceles. Conclusions/Significance: This study constitutes a significant contribution to the global barcode reference sequence library for fishes and demonstrates the utility of barcoding for regional species identification. As an independent assessment of alpha taxonomy, barcodes provide robust support for most morphologically based taxon concepts and also highlight key areas of taxonomic uncertainty worthy of reappraisal. © 2011 Mabragaña et al.

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Mabragaña, E., de Astarloa, J. M. D., Hanner, R., Zhang, J., & Castro, M. (2011). DNA barcoding identifies argentine fishes from marine and brackish waters. PLoS ONE, 6(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0028655

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