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Volume 46 - Number 1 - 2011


DNA barcoding of marine polychaetes species of southern Patagonian fjords

Claudia S. Maturana1, Rodrigo A. Moreno1,2,3, Fabio A. Labra2, Claudio A. González-Wevar1, Nicolás Rozbaczylo4, Franklin D. Carrasco5 and Elie Poulin1

1Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad (IEB), Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Casilla 653, Santiago, Chile
2Centro de Investigación en Ciencias Ambientales (CIENCIA-UST), Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Santo Tomás, Ejército 146, Santiago, Chile
3Departamento de Ciencias Básicas, Universidad Santo Tomás, Avenida Arturo Prat 850, Concepción, Chile
4Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Casilla 114-D, Santiago, Chile
5Departamento de Oceanografía, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile




Accurate species identification remains a basic first step in any study of biodiversity, particularly for global changes and their consequences. Thus, there is a pressing need for taxonomic expertise in a broad range of taxa. DNA barcoding has proved to be a powerful alternative method to traditional morphological approaches, allowing to complement identification techniques for living organisms. In this study, we assess intraspecific and interspecific genetic divergence among marine polychaetes from Patagonian fjords of southern Chile, using mitochondrial Cytochrome c Oxidase Subunit I (COI) gene. Our results showed that a total of 13 polychaetes species identified in this study exhibited high levels of interspecific variation among 31 analyzed sequences. Mean pairwise sequence distances comparisons based on K2P within species ranged from 0.2 to 0.4%. In contrast, interspecific comparisons were much higher and ranged between 18 to 47%, with the exception of the congeneric species Asychis chilensis and Asychis amphiglypta that showed high levels of genetic similarities and absence of reciprocal monophyly. This study presents the first information on DNA barcoding for polychaetes species in the southern Chile, and it establishes the effectiveness of DNA barcoding for identification of marine polychaetes species from Patagonian Fjords, thus making it available to a much broader range of scientists


Key words: Molecular taxonomy, Polychaeta, Cytochrome c Oxydase Subunit I, CIMAR-13 Fjords, Chile



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