Comparison of potential diatom 'barcode' genes (the 18S rRNA gene and ITS, COI, rbcL) and their effectiveness in discriminating and determining species taxonomy in the Bacillariophyta
International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology
Diatoms form an enormous group of photoautotrophic micro-eukaryotes and play a crucial role in marine ecology. In this study, we evaluated typical genes to determine whether they were effective at different levels of diatom clustering analysis to assess the potential of these regions for barcoding taxa. Our test genes included nuclear rRNA genes (the nuclear small-subunit rRNA gene and the 5.8S rRNA gene+ITS-2), a mitochondrial gene (cytochrome c-oxidase subunit 1, COI), a chloroplast gene
... lose-1,5-biphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase large subunit (rbcL)] and the universal plastid amplicon (UPA). Calculated genetic divergence was highest for the internal transcribed spacer (ITS; 5.8S+ITS-2) (p-distance of 1.569, 85.84 % parsimonyinformative sites) and COI (6.084, 82.14 %), followed by the 18S rRNA gene (0.139, 57.69 %), rbcL (0.120, 42.01 %) and UPA (0.050, 14.97 %), which indicated that ITS and COI were highly divergent compared with the other tested genes, and that their nucleotide compositions were variable within the whole group of diatoms. Bayesian inference (BI) analysis showed that the phylogenetic trees generated from each gene clustered diatoms at different phylogenetic levels. The 18S rRNA gene was better than the other genes in clustering higher diatom taxa, and both the 18S rRNA gene and rbcL performed well in clustering some lower taxa. The COI region was able to barcode species of some genera within the Bacillariophyceae. ITS was a potential marker for DNA based-taxonomy and DNA barcoding of Thalassiosirales, while species of Cyclotella, Skeletonema and Stephanodiscus gathered in separate clades, and were paraphyletic with those of Thalassiosira. Finally, UPA was too conserved to serve as a diatom barcode. Abbreviations: BI, Bayesian inference; ITS, internal transcribed spacer; LSU, large-subunit; %PI, percentage of parsimony-informative sites; SSU, small-subunit.