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Molecular phylogenies help resolve taxonomic confusion with Asian Crassostrea oyster species
Reece, K.S.; Cordes, J.F.; Stubbs, J.B.; Hudson, K.L.; Francis, E.A. (2008). Molecular phylogenies help resolve taxonomic confusion with Asian Crassostrea oyster species. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 153(4): 709-721.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Reece, K.S.
  • Cordes, J.F.
  • Stubbs, J.B.
  • Hudson, K.L.
  • Francis, E.A.

    Identification of oyster species is still largely based on phenotypic characters that are highly plastic. Prompted by the proposed introduction of the Asian oyster species Crassostrea ariakensis into the Chesapeake Bay region of the U.S.A., this study uses molecular genetic information to understand the taxonomic framework surrounding C. ariakensis and to confidently distinguish among various sympatric oyster species. Putative samples of C. ariakensis and other species of cupped oysters from across Asia were collected and phylogenetic analyses were conducted on DNA sequences of both nuclear (ITS-1) and mitochondrial (COI) regions. Trees generated based on the two independent molecular datasets were highly congruent, and indicate that many oysters collected for this study as C. ariakensis were originally misidentified. Results also indicate that C. ariakensis, C. hongkongensis and C. nippona are distinct, but closely related species. There is strong support in both analyses for a close relationship between C. gigas and C. sikamea, as well as between C. belcheri and C. gryphoides, and between C. iredalei and C. madrasensis. The parsimony analyses based on these DNA markers, however, did not provide evidence to support C. angulata as a distinct species from C. gigas. Overall, the results emphasize the need for rigorous species identification, and additional extensive and intensive sampling to more accurately determine relationships among Crassostrea species, define their geographic distributions, and establish existing sympatry patterns.

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