Italy is the country with the largest diversity of butterflies in Europe, with approximately 280 resident species (576 species exist on the continent). Nevertheless, almost nothing is known about their structure and genetic richness. This extensive study will reveal the existence of unknown species and endemic genetic lines in our country. Ultimately the barcoding of butterflies represent the most powerful cognitive tool to draw up plans to preserve the biodiversity of these organisms not only in Italy but in the whole Mediterranean area.
WHAT IS "BARCODING"?
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 )
How does it work?
The research part in the barcoding project is carried out by three academic units with the monetary and logistical support of various public institutions. The funding is based primarily on a series of small donations for the adoption of local faunas.
Not only institutions can participate. If you are curious to know "who they are" some of the butterflies flying in your area, send them to us. We also are curious to know. We will examine and include them in the project. At that point we will send you the information.
How many analyses are necessary?
For Italy at least 5000 analysis would be necessary (an average of 20 individuals per species) to cover the Alpine area, the Apennines, the coastal area and islands.
How much does the project cost?
With 25000 € barcoding project will be completed in two years! Each analysis costs about 10 Euros.
Become a partner and “adopt” a butterfly community
You can "adopt" a community to sequence at least one or two specimens for each species. The Italian communities of butterflies are composed on average of 100-200 species and the adoption would thus have a variable cost from 1000 to 4000 Euros.
What would you get by becoming a partner?
Image - the logo of your institution will be published on the website of the project.
No sequencing of local fauna has been published for Italy. All sponsors will also be cited in scientific publications in popular publications, reports, and published on the project website and the facebook page of the project.
Results - the partners will have access to the data.
Conservation in practice - the presence of cryptic species or genetic lines could represent interesting Evolutionary Significant Units.