Exploring the Utility of Partial Cytochrome c Oxidase Subunit 1 for DNA Barcoding of Gobies

  • Received : 2012.09.23
  • Accepted : 2012.10.20
  • Published : 2012.10.31


Gobiids are hyperdiverse compared with other teleost groups, with about 2,000 species occurring in marine, freshwater, and blackish habitats, and they show a remarkable variety of morphologies and ecology. Testing the effectiveness of DNA barcodes on species that have emerged as a result of radiation remains a major challenge in evolutionary biology. Here, we used the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) sequences from 144 species of gobies and related species to evaluate the performance of distance-based DNA barcoding and to conduct a phylogenetic analysis. The average intra-genus genetic distance was considerably higher than that obtained in previous studies. Additionally, the interspecific divergence at higher taxonomic levels was not significantly different from that at the intragenus level, suggesting that congeneric gobies possess substantial interspecific sequence divergence in their COI gene. However, levels of intragenus divergence varied greatly among genera, and we do not provide sufficient evidence for using COI for cryptic species delimitation. Significantly more nucleotide changes were observed at the third codon position than that at the first and the second codons, revealing that extensive variation in COI reflects synonymous changes and little protein level variation. Despite clear signatures in several genera, the COI sequences did resolve genealogical relationships in the phylogenetic analysis well. Our results support the validity of COI barcoding for gobiid species identification, but the utilization of more gene regions will assist to offer a more robust gobiid species phylogeny.


Grant : Korean Tree of Life, 4th Year: Gobioidei Fishes

Supported by : National Institute of Biological Resources


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