AllGenetics uses COI and nuclear ortholog sequencing to study Ensis macha populations in South America

Dr Joaquín Vierna has collaborated with researchers from Argentina, Chile, and the USA who together have unveiled that northern populations correspond to a new incipient species.

AllGenetics collaborated in a study (along with researchers from Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas -CONICET-, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco -UNPSJB-, EcoGen Ecología y Genética Ambiental SpA, Ecogestión Ambiental Ltda, and Illinois Natural History Survey) which has just been published in the journal Organisms Diversity & Evolution. In this work, led by Dr Federico Márquez, the authors studied the genetic and morphometric variation of the razor shell Ensis macha (Molina, 1792) throughout its entire geographic distribution.

At AllGenetics, we used DNA barcoding and low-coverage high-throughput sequencing assembled with aTRAM 2.3.0 to study genetic variation of E. macha populations from Peru, Chile, and Argentina. This species is one of the most significant shellfish resources in South America and studying the patterns of genetic variation is of utmost importance to sustainably manage the populations.

One of the main results of the article is that the individuals from Trujillo (Peru) and Dichato (Chile) belong to a separate clade. Therefore, the authors suggest that “to make our results useful in the management of the E. macha fisheries and help to preserve the biological diversity of these razor clams, a taxonomic revision should be carried out and a species name should be provided for the Northern clade”.

At AllGenetics we are very proud to have contributed to this work that highlights the importance of using genomic-based methods to study the diversity of natural populations, especially in organisms with high phenotypic plasticity, such as molluscs.