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Reference In situ identification by fluorescently labeled oligonucleotide probes of morphologically similar, closely related ciliate species. Petroni G, Rosati G, Vannini C, Modeo L, Dini F, Verni F. Microbial ecology. 2003.
Abstract Ciliate protozoa are important members of microbial communities in which they play specific ecological roles. The determination of single species distribution is fundamental for food web analysis, but species recognition, which is mainly based on morphological characters, is often difficult between closely related species. The use of species-specific, purposely designed, fluorescently labeled probes for in situ hybridization is here presented as an easy and fast identification method for three closely related species belonging to the widespread genus Euplotes, namely E. crassus, E. vannus, and E. minuta, that in spite of their remarkable morphological similarity have significant metabolic and ecological differences. These three species can be detected simultaneously, provided the probes employed are bound to different fluorescent dyes: in this way their relative abundance and their population dynamics in the natural environment can be evaluated. As more ciliate sequences become available in databases, species-specific probes can be designed for other ciliates, thus rendering the application of the method of more general importance. The probes used in this study may also provide a tool to prevent erroneous species identification in future studies.
Pubmed ID 12491024