DNA barcoding, population genetics, and phylogenetics of the illegally hunted Philippine Duck Anas luzonica (Aves: Anseriformes: Anatidae)

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Ardea Mingoa Licuanan
Mariano RoyMartin Duya
Perry Sim Ong
Ian Kendrich Carandang Fontanilla


DNA barcoding is extensively used as a species identification and delineation tool.  The aim of this study was to generate a barcode profile for mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) in the Philippine Duck Anas luzonica, a dabbling duck species endemic to the Philippines that is classified as ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (BirdLife International 2016).  COI barcodes were successfully obtained using muscle tissue samples from 46 A. luzonica individuals confiscated from illegal hunters in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.  Analysis of TrN+Γ+I distances among the Anas luzonica COI sequences and those of 25 other Anas species revealed that COI barcodes cannot generally delineate hybridizing species.  While Anas luzonica was differentiated from other species it is known to hybridize with and formed a monophyletic group in the neighbor-joining tree generated, sampling from areas of sympatry is needed since individuals were obtained from only one sampling site.  The population structure of the Anas luzonica population was also examined using mitochondrial DNA control region and COI sequences.  The population had high haplotype diversity and low nucleotide diversity, an indication that a bottleneck event had occurred, which is likely due to extreme hunting pressures and habitat destruction.  The population under study exhibited high genetic diversity.  Given that the samples for this study came from a single locality, sampling from other localities is required to determine whether other populations are facing the risk of reduced fitness (inbreeding depression).

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Author Biographies

Ardea Mingoa Licuanan, Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines

AML recently graduated from the University of the Philippines with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. 

Mariano RoyMartin Duya, Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines

MRMD is a lecturer and a university researcher at the Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman.

Perry Sim Ong, Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines

PSO is a professor at the Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman and the Program Leader for the Wildlife Forensics and DNA Barcoding of Philippine Biodiversity Program implemented by the Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines Diliman and the Biodiversity Management Bureau-Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Ian Kendrich Carandang Fontanilla, Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines & Philippine Genome Center, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines

IKCF is an associate professor of the Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman, and a project leader of the Wildlife Forensics and DNA Barcoding of Philippine Biodiversity Program implemented by the Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines Diliman and the Biodiversity Management Bureau-Department of Environment and Natural Resources.


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