MEPS - Vol. 320 - Feature article

Nematodes, such as Trissonchulus sp. (photo), frequently have complex morphological entities and play an important role in shallow and deep marine environments. Photo: Dr. Tim Ferrero, The Natural History Museum, London, UK.

Bhadury P, Austen MC, Bilton DT, Lambshead PJD, Rogers AD, Smerdon GR


DNA barcoding could speed up benthic biodiversity studies


The current crisis in taxonomic expertise has resulted in the neglect of highly diverse groups of organisms, such as marine nematodes, that play a pivotal role in many marine ecosystems, including the deep ocean. Bhadury and co-workers have used DNA barcoding, based on the sequencing of a small segment of ribosomal RNA, to facilitate marine nematode identification. They show that 18S rRNA sequences can be a useful marker for barcoding marine nematodes, and could be employed in molecular surveys of benthic organisms in shallow-water as well as deep-sea environments. There is an urgent need to integrate such approaches with morphological taxonomy if we are to fully understand the radiation of diverse, cryptic taxa.


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