; Xiong, Jie
; Yu, Yuhe] Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Hydrobiol, Key Lab Aquat Biodivers & Conservat, Wuhan, Peoples R China
; [Wu, Shu] Univ Chinese Acad Sci, Beijing, Peoples R China
Science & Technology
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Biodiversity studies are commonly conducted using 18S rRNA genes. In this study, we compared the inter-species divergence of variable regions (V1-9) within the copepod 18S rRNA gene, and tested their taxonomic resolutions at different taxonomic levels. Our results indicate that the 18S rRNA gene is a good molecular marker for the study of copepod biodiversity, and our conclusions are as follows: 1) 18S rRNA genes are highly conserved intraspecies (intra-species similarities are close to 100%); and could aid in species-level analyses, but with some limitations; 2) nearly-whole-length sequences and some partial regions (around V2, V4, and V9) of the 18S rRNA gene can be used to discriminate between samples at both the family and order levels (with a success rate of about 80%); 3) compared with other regions, V9 has a higher resolution at the genus level (with an identification success rate of about 80%); and 4) V7 is most divergent in length, and would be a good candidate marker for the phylogenetic study of Acartia species. This study also evaluated the correlation between similarity thresholds and the accuracy of using nuclear 18S rRNA genes for the classification of organisms in the subclass Copepoda. We suggest that sample identification accuracy should be considered when a molecular sequence divergence threshold is used for taxonomic identification, and that the lowest similarity threshold should be determined based on a pre-designated level of acceptable accuracy.