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DNA barcodes to explore diversity in aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae and Adelgidae).

Foottit, R.G., Maw, H.E.L., and Pike, K.S. (2009). "DNA barcodes to explore diversity in aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae and Adelgidae).", Redia, 92, pp. 87-91.


A tendency towards loss of taxonomically useful characters, and morphological plasticity due to host and environmental factors, complicates the identification of aphid species and the analysis of relationships. The presence of different morphological forms of a single species on different hosts and at different times of the year makes it difficult to consistently associate routinely collected field samples with particular species definitions. DNA barcoding has been proposed as a standardized approach to the characterization of life forms. We have tested the effectiveness of the standard 658-bp barcode fragment from the 5' end of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 gene (COI) to differentiate among species of aphids and adelgids. Results are presented for a preliminary study on the application of DNA barcoding in which approximately 3600 specimens representing 568 species and 169 genera of the major subfamilies of aphids and the adelgids have been sequenced. Examples are provided where DNA barcoding has been used as a tool in recognizing the existence of cryptic new taxa, linking life stages on different hosts of adelgids, and as an aid in the delineation of species boundaries. The future use of these DNA barcodes for the routine detection of invasive species, the resolution of pest complexes, and the analysis of diverse faunas is discussed.

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