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Keywords:

  • Barcode of Life;
  • DNA array;
  • DNA hybridization;
  • mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (COX1)

Abstract

We developed a COX1 barcode oligonucleotide array based on 358 sequences, including 58 known and two new species of Penicillium subgenus Penicillium, and 12 allied species. The array was robotically spotted at near microarray density on membranes. Species and clade-specific oligonucleotides were selected using the computer programs SigOli and Array Designer. Robotic spotting allowed 768 spots with duplicate sets of perfect match and the corresponding mismatch and positive control oligonucleotides, to be printed on 2 × 6 cm2 nylon membranes. The array was validated with hybridizations between the array and digoxigenin (DIG)-labelled COX1 polymerase chain reaction amplicons from 70 pure DNA samples, and directly from environmental samples (cheese and plants) without culturing. DNA hybridization conditions were optimized, but undesired cross-reactions were detected frequently, reflecting the relatively high sequence similarity of the COX1 gene among Penicillium species. Approximately 60% of the perfect match oligonucleotides were rejected because of low specificity and 76 delivered useful group-specific or species-specific reactions and could be used for detecting certain species of Penicillium in environmental samples. In practice, the presence of weak signals on arrays exposed to amplicons from environmental samples, which could have represented weak detections or weak cross reactions, made interpretation difficult for over half of the oligonucleotides. DNA regions with very few single nucleotide polymorphisms or lacking insertions/deletions among closely related species are not ideal for oligonucleotide-based diagnostics, and supplementing the COX1-based array with oligonucleotides derived from additional genes would result in a more robust hierarchical identification system.