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Biological Sciences


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences


Taxonomic identification can be difficult when two or more species appear morphologically similar. DNA barcoding based on the sequence of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 gene (COI) is now widely used in identifying animal species. High‐resolution melting analysis (HRM) provides an alternative method for detecting sequence variations among amplicons without having to perform DNA sequencing. The purpose of this study was to determine whether HRM of the COI barcode can be used to distinguish animal species. Using anurans as a model, we found distinct COI melting profiles among three congeners of both Lithobates spp. and Hyla spp. Sequence variations within species shifted the melting temperature of one or more melting domains slightly but do not affect the distinctness of the melting profiles for each species. An NMDS ordination plot comparing melting peak profiles among eight Anuran species showed overlapping profiles for Lithobates sphenocephala and Gastrophryne carolinensis. The COI amplicon for both species contained two melting domains with melting temperatures that were similar between the two species. The two species belong to two different families, highlighting the fact that COI melting profiles do not reveal phylogenetic relationships but simply reflect DNA sequence differences among stretches of DNA within amplicons. This study suggests that high‐resolution melting analysis of COI barcodes (COI‐HRM) may be useful as a simple and rapid method to distinguish animal species that appear morphologically similar.


Published by 'Ecology and Evolution' at 10.1002/ece3.5808.

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Ecology and Evolution





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