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Mitochondrial DNA and morphological variation in the sentinel earthworm species Lumbricus rubellus

Donnelly, Robert K., Harper, Georgina L., Morgan, A. John, Pinto-Juma, Gabriela A. and Bruford, Michael William 2014. Mitochondrial DNA and morphological variation in the sentinel earthworm species Lumbricus rubellus. European Journal of Soil Biology 64 , pp. 23-29. 10.1016/j.ejsobi.2014.07.002

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The common epigeic earthworm Lumbricus rubellus has been found to comprise two genetically distinct lineages and this genetic heterogeneity could compromise its currently widespread use as a sentinel in soil ecotoxicology. An extensive analysis of lineage diversity was conducted on UK populations of L. rubellus, comprising 137 individuals collected from England and Wales. Sequencing of the mitochondrial COI region revealed the widespread occurrence of the two described lineages throughout Britain, which were often found to co-exist at the same site. Morphological characters were investigated to differentiate the two lineages. A rapid genetic test (mitochondrial PCR amplification and restriction digestion) was applied to determine the lineage of each specimen. A blind trial revealed a characteristic glandular tumescence to be effective in differentiating the lineages, particularly in identifying ‘lineage B’ worms. COI sequence analysis was also conducted upon three other Lumbricus species, which failed to uncover any genetic lineages comparable to those found within L. rubellus.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1164-5563
Date of Acceptance: 25 July 2014
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2019 14:27

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