Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2006 Aug;40(2):435-47. Epub 2006 May 2.

Relationship between morphological taxonomy and molecular divergence within Crustacea: proposal of a molecular threshold to help species delimitation.

Author information

Laboratoire d'Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Fluviaux, UMR-CNRS 5023, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, F-69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France.


With today's technology for production of molecular sequences, DNA taxonomy and barcoding arose as a new tool for evolutionary biology and ecology. However, their validities still need to be empirically evaluated. Of most importance is the strength of the correlation between morphological taxonomy and molecular divergence and the possibility to define some molecular thresholds. Here, we report measurements of this correlation for two mitochondrial genes (COI and 16S rRNA) within the sub-phylum Crustacea. Perl scripts were developed to ensure objectivity, reproducibility, and exhaustiveness of our tests. Our analysis reveals a general correlation between molecular divergence and taxonomy. This correlation is particularly high for shallow taxonomic levels allowing us to propose a COI universal crustacean threshold to help species delimitation. At higher taxonomic levels this correlation decreases, particularly when comparing different families. Those results plead for DNA use in taxonomy and suggest an operational method to help crustacean species delimitation that is linked to the phylogenetic species definition. This pragmatic tool is expected to fine tune the present classification, and not, as some would have believed, to tear it apart.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center