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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(9), 20152-20167; doi:10.3390/ijms160920152

Avoidance and Potential Remedy Solutions of Chimeras in Reconstructing the Phylogeny of Aphids Using the 16S rRNA Gene of Buchnera: A Case in Lachninae (Hemiptera)

Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
College of Life Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Institute of Plant Protection, Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shenyang 110161, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: William Chi-shing Cho
Received: 1 July 2015 / Revised: 7 August 2015 / Accepted: 18 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1758 KB, uploaded 25 August 2015]   |  


It is known that PCR amplification of highly homologous genes from complex DNA mixtures can generate a significant proportion of chimeric sequences. The 16S rRNA gene is not only widely used in estimating the species diversity of endosymbionts in aphids but also used to explore the co-diversification of aphids and their endosymbionts. Thus, chimeric sequences may lead to the discovery of non-existent endosymbiont species and mislead Buchnera-based phylogenetic analysis that lead to false conclusions. In this study, a high probability (6.49%) of chimeric sequence occurrence was found in the amplified 16S rRNA gene sequences of endosymbionts from aphid species in the subfamily Lachninae. These chimeras are hybrid products of multiple parent sequences from the dominant species of endosymbionts in each corresponding host. It is difficult to identify the chimeric sequences of a new or unidentified species due to the high variability of their main parent, Buchnera aphidicola, and because the chimeric sequences can confuse the phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences. These chimeras present a challenge to Buchnera-based phylogenetic research in aphids. Thus, our study strongly suggests that using appropriate methods to detect chimeric 16S rRNA sequences may avoid some false conclusions in endosymbiont-based aphid research. View Full-Text
Keywords: chimera; 16S rRNA gene; Buchnera; phylogeny; aphids; Lachninae chimera; 16S rRNA gene; Buchnera; phylogeny; aphids; Lachninae

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Chen, R.; Wang, Z.; Chen, J.; Qiao, G.-X. Avoidance and Potential Remedy Solutions of Chimeras in Reconstructing the Phylogeny of Aphids Using the 16S rRNA Gene of Buchnera: A Case in Lachninae (Hemiptera). Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16, 20152-20167.

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