Barcoding myxomycetes with molecular markers: challenges and opportunities
Schnittler, Martin; Shchepin, Oleg N.; Dagamac, Nikki Heherson A.; Borg Dahl, Mathilde; Novozhilov, Yuri K.
Despite the long history of studies based on fruit body occurrence and morphology, the molecular era for myxomycetes started much later than for most other Eukaryotic groups. With the first reliable phylogenies of myxomycetes at hand, a barcoding approach is within reach. However, a serious challenge is the high diversity in marker genes known as more conservative in animals or plants. Like in other protistean groups this makes it difficult to find truly universal primers. This review reports recent advances in the development of molecular markers and assesses their suitability for barcoding the ca. 1000 described morphospecies. Most advanced is barcoding with partial sequences of the 18S rRNA gene, but the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene is as well a promising marker. Based on the limited number of studies that employed molecular methods to investigate natural populations of myxomycetes, consequences of such a barcoding approach for species concepts are discussed. Challenges for the analysis of environmental samples are addressed, which have a great potential to improve our understanding of the ecology and diversity of the group.