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SHORT COMMUNICATION The utility of ITS2 in spider phylogenetics: notes on prior work and an example from Anelosimus
 

Summary: SHORT COMMUNICATION
The utility of ITS2 in spider phylogenetics: notes on prior work and an example from Anelosimus
Ingi Agnarsson: Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras (UPRRP), San Juan, PR, 00931-3360,
Puerto Rico, USA.; Department of Entomology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, NHB-
105, PO Box 37012, Washington, D.C. 20013-7012, USA. E-mail: iagnarsson@gmail.com
Abstract. The ribosomal internal transcribed spacer ITS2 is probably the most popular nuclear DNA marker used to
examine relationships among and within species in animals and plants. ITS2 sequences have also begun to be used as DNA
barcodes. ITS2, however, has rarely been used in studies of spiders. Here, I examine the potential utility of this marker for
spider phylogenetics based on preliminary data for Anelosimus spiders and a brief summary of prior work. The secondary
structure of ITS2 facilitated alignment of highly divergent sequences and indicated that secondary structure morphology
might be phylogenetically informative in itself. Phylogenetic analysis of Anelosimus species was congruent with a prior
study based on a combination of six mitochondrial and nuclear loci plus morphology regarding the deeper clades within the
genus. However, ITS2 had insufficient variation to resolve relationships within species and among closely related species.
Previous studies have also discovered relatively little within-species variation in ITS2. In sum, ITS2 is an easily amplified
and sequenced marker that is underutilized in spider phylogenetics; however, it has limited uses at the lowest taxonomic
levels and is not likely to be a universally useful DNA barcode marker.
Keywords: Phylogeny, DNA barcode, ITS2 secondary structure, sociality, Theridiidae
ITS2, which is flanked by the 5.8S and large ribosomal subunit
(28S) nuclear genes, is perhaps the most popular marker used to
resolve relationships among and within species in animals and plants

  

Source: Agnarsson, Ingi - Department of Biology, Universidad de Puerto Rico

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine