Molecular Identification of Reptiles from Tabuk Region of Saudi Arabia Through DNA Barcoding: A Case Study
The deserts of Saudi Arabia provide an excellent habitat for reptiles. Although reptiles show significant vertebrate diversity, only few barcoding studies have been conducted on reptiles. In this case study, we collected different reptile species from the Tabuk region of Saudi Arabia and performed DNA barcoding in order to validate those species. We performed DNA sequencing for the COI region of 21 species belonging to the order Squamata. The BOLD Identification System (IDS) was used to establish species identity of the developed sequences. We searched both the private and published data in BOLD for available sequences through the “All Barcode Records” search engine. The neighbor-joining tree of all the species under this study was constructed, and the phylogenetic reconstruction was done using K2P distance model as per the standard protocol of DNA barcode. It was observed that Chamaeleo chamaeleon clusters with three Diplometopon zarudnyi sequences, of them two sequences have been generated in the lab and one sequence have been extracted from the database. Eurylepis taeniolatus also formed distinct branch in vicinity of three sequences of Myrophis platyrhynchus. This case study demonstrated the effectiveness of COI barcodes for reptile species from Saudi Arabia in discriminating species recognized through prior taxonomic work contributing to the growing library of DNA barcodes of animal species of the world. Some species groups with overlapping barcodes identified in this study were good candidates for further studies of phylogeography and speciation processes. Further phylogenetic work on these species will reveal which of these highly divergent and geographically separated populations should be treated as belonging to the same species or sister species.
KeywordsCOI DNA barcoding BOLD-IDS K2P Reptiles NJ
We acknowledge the Deanship of Scientific Research, University of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, for the support provided through the Project No. S-1437-0067.
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