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Keywords:

  • cytochrome b;
  • mammals;
  • primers;
  • sequence data;
  • species identification

Abstract

Sequence-based species identification relies on the extent and integrity of sequence data available in online databases such as GenBank. When identifying species from a sample of unknown origin, partial DNA sequences obtained from the sample are aligned against existing sequences in databases. When the sequence from the matching species is not present in the database, high-scoring alignments with closely related sequences might produce unreliable results on species identity. For species identification in mammals, the cytochrome b (cyt b) gene has been identified to be highly informative; thus, large amounts of reference sequence data from the cyt b gene are much needed. To enhance availability of cyt b gene sequence data on a large number of mammalian species in GenBank and other such publicly accessible online databases, we identified a primer pair for complete cyt b gene sequencing in mammals. Using this primer pair, we successfully PCR amplified and sequenced the complete cyt b gene from 40 of 44 mammalian species representing 10 orders of mammals. We submitted 40 complete, correctly annotated, cyt b protein coding sequences to GenBank. To our knowledge, this is the first single primer pair to amplify the complete cyt b gene in a broad range of mammalian species. This primer pair can be used for the addition of new cyt b gene sequences and to enhance data available on species represented in GenBank. The availability of novel and complete gene sequences as high-quality reference data can improve the reliability of sequence-based species identification.