Molecular Identification of Western-Palaearctic Leaf Beetles (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae)
Within Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae is one of the richest families, being widely used in several studies in the field of ecology, evolutionary biology, biodiversity, conservation and pest management. In all these areas it is essential to accomplish an accurate identification of species. Typically, insect identification is based on morphological characters. However, the difficulties associated with this methodology led to the emergence of a molecular technique, known as DNA barcoding, where the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) marker is commonly used. The effectiveness of DNA-based identification of species relies on the availability of sequences in public databases for comparison. Nevertheless, there is still a large number of non-sequenced species in these databases, preventing a molecular identification. In this study, we present the first attempt to generate COI barcode data for Chrysomelidae species collected in a forensic context in Iberian Peninsula. With this purpose, a total of 658 bp for COI gene were obtained for the six studied species. Phylogenetic and sequence divergence analyses were also performed, which allowed the discrimination of all species under study, supporting once again the suitability of this genetic marker. Obtained sequences were added to BOLD and GenBank databases, contributing to the increase of records in online databases and making the identification of some Chrysomelidae species easier.
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