Get access

Species-specific oligonucleotide probes for macroalgae: molecular discrimination of two marine fouling species of Enteromorpha (Ulvophyceae)

Authors

  • J. Blomster,

    1. School of Biology and Biochemistry, Queen’s University of Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, Northern Ireland, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • E. M. Hoey,

    1. School of Biology and Biochemistry, Queen’s University of Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, Northern Ireland, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • C. A. Maggs,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Biology and Biochemistry, Queen’s University of Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, Northern Ireland, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. J. Stanhope

    1. School of Biology and Biochemistry, Queen’s University of Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, Northern Ireland, UK
    Search for more papers by this author

C. A. Maggs. Fax: + 44-1232-236505; E-mail: c.maggs@qub.ac.uk

Abstract

The green seaweeds Enteromorpha intestinalis and E. compressa are important fouling organisms commonly found in polluted and nutrient-enriched marine and brackish water habitats, where they are used in environmental monitoring. Discrimination of the two species is extremely difficult because of overlapping morphological characters. In this study a quick molecular method for species identification was developed based on the nuclear rDNA ITS2 sequence data of 54 E. intestinalis samples and 20 E. compressa samples from a wide geographical range. Oligonucleotide probes were designed for species-specific hybridization to dot-blots of the PCR-amplified ITS1, 5.8S gene and ITS2 fragment of both E. intestinalis and E. compressa. Specificity of the oligonucleotide probes was confirmed by tests with taxonomically diverse species that could morphologically be confused with E. intestinalis or E. compressa. This is the first use of species-specific probes for macroalgae. The restriction endonuclease NruI digested specifically the amplified PCR product from E. compressa into two fragments detectable on agarose gels, but no suitable restriction sites were identifiable in the PCR product of E. intestinalis.

Ancillary