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DNA Barcodes of Asian Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii)

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Author(s): Ibrahim A. Arif | Haseeb A. Khan | Joseph B. Williams | Mohammad Shobrak | Waad I. Arif

Journal: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
ISSN 1422-0067

Volume: 13;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 2425;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: DNA bar-coding | houbara bustard | cytochrome oxidase | gene sequencing | phylogenetics

ABSTRACT
Populations of Houbara Bustards have dramatically declined in recent years. Captive breeding and reintroduction programs have had limited success in reviving population numbers and thus new technological solutions involving molecular methods are essential for the long term survival of this species. In this study, we sequenced the 694 bp segment of COI gene of the four specimens of Asian Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii). We also compared these sequences with earlier published barcodes of 11 individuals comprising different families of the orders Gruiformes, Ciconiiformes, Podicipediformes and Crocodylia (out group). The pair-wise sequence comparison showed a total of 254 variable sites across all the 15 sequences from different taxa. Three of the four specimens of Houbara Bustard had an identical sequence of COI gene and one individual showed a single nucleotide difference (G > A transition at position 83). Within the bustard family (Otididae), comparison among the three species (Asian Houbara Bustard, Great Bustard (Otis tarda) and the Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax)), representing three different genera, showed 116 variable sites. For another family (Rallidae), the intra-family variable sites among the individuals of four different genera were found to be 146. The COI genetic distances among the 15 individuals varied from 0.000 to 0.431. Phylogenetic analysis using 619 bp nucleotide segment of COI clearly discriminated all the species representing different genera, families and orders. All the four specimens of Houbara Bustard formed a single clade and are clearly separated from other two individuals of the same family (Otis tarda and Tetrax tetrax). The nucleotide sequence of partial segment of COI gene effectively discriminated the closely related species. This is the first study reporting the barcodes of Houbara Bustard and would be helpful in future molecular studies, particularly for the conservation of this threatened bird in Saudi Arabia.
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