The basin of the River Plate is the fifth largest river basin in the world and second largest in South America, comprising major drainages present in five countries: Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The tree main rivers that form the basin of the River Plate are Paraná, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Despite its size and importance, ichthyologic surveys conducted in these rivers, as in other large rivers basins, are still incomplete. In addition, there is no consensus about the taxonomic status of many species listed in these surveys. Recent studies have proposed the use of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) as a global system for identification of plants and animals. These sequences have been interpreted as a barcode (DNA barcode), with species being bounded by a particular sequence or a set of very similar sequences. The genus Hyphessobrycon, the second largest genus of Characidae, comprising about 130 species, possesses 25 species listed in La Plata basin. Among these species, many are found in other important basins, such as the São Francisco and Amazon basin. Given the promising data obtained for several groups of plants and animals using the method of DNA barcoding, considering the wide fish diversity in the La Plata basin, considering the still limited knowledge we have of this important fish fauna, and considering the environmental impact that the basin has faced over its history, the aim of this project is the sequencing of partial segment of the COI gene for all species of Hyphessobrycon found in the La Plata basin, with the goal of creating an molecular identification system of species present in this basin and also aiming at an improvement in knowledge of the biodiversity of the group.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: