Foraminifera are a species-rich phylum of rhizarian protists that are highly abundant in many marine environments and play a major role in global carbon cycling. Species recognition in Foraminifera is mainly based on morphological characters and nuclear 18S ribosomal RNA barcoding. The 18S rRNA contains variable sequence regions that allow for the identification of most foraminiferal species. Still, some species show limited variability, while others contain high levels of intragenomic polymorphisms, thereby complicating species identification. The use of additional, easily obtainable molecular markers other than 18S rRNA will enable more detailed investigation of evolutionary history, population genetics and speciation in Foraminifera. Here we present the first mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) gene sequences (“barcodes”) of Foraminifera. We applied shotgun sequencing to single foraminiferal specimens, assembled COI, and developed primers that allow amplification of COI in a wide range of foraminiferal species. We obtained COI sequences of 49 specimens from 17 species from the orders Rotaliida and Miliolida. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the COI tree is largely congruent with previously published 18S rRNA phylogenies. Furthermore, species delimitation with ASAP and ABGD algorithms showed that foraminiferal species can be identified based on COI barcodes.
Scientific Reports

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Staff publications

Macher, J., Wideman, Jeremy G., Girard, E., Langerak, A., Duijm, E., Jompa, Jamaluddin, … Renema, W. (2021). First report of mitochondrial COI in foraminifera and implications for DNA barcoding. Scientific Reports, 11(22165). doi:10.1038/s41598-021-01589-5