Recently, more and more economic techniques have been developed for the extraction, purification and DNA sequencing. In addition, the barcoding has gained a wide acceptance among researchers for the taxonomic and biogeographic value of a particular segment of mitochondrial DNA ( cytochrome c oxidase I, CO1 )
The rate of mutation of this gene in animals is very rapid and tends not to change across conspecifics. For these characteristics it has become very popular and its sequencing is at the basis of the " barcoding of life". In practice, it can be used as an actual barcode to assign an unknown individual to its species and to reconstruct the evolutionary history of populations from different regions because this gene tends to diverge rapidly as populations diverge until they become species.
By sequencing this gene , we can gain important information to recognize which of all the Italian butterflies, represent undescribed species, populations forming typical genetic lines for Italy and how Italian butterfly populations have occupied the place where they live today.
As a final and crucial information, this gene may reveal what Italian populations are at risk of extinction, and suggest where and how to act.