A rapid and cost-effective identification of invertebrate pests at the borders using minion sequencing of DNA barcodes
journal contributionposted on 10.09.2021, 04:06 by Shamila Abeynayake, S Fiorito, A Dinsdale, M Whattam, B Crowe, K Sparks, PR Campbell, C Gambley
The rapid and accurate identification of invertebrate pests detected at the border is a challenging task. Current diagnostic methods used at the borders are mainly based on time con-suming visual and microscopic examinations. Here, we demonstrate a rapid in-house workflow for DNA extraction, PCR amplification of the barcode region of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene and Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) MinION sequencing of amplified products multiplexed after barcoding on ONT Flongle flow cells. A side-by-side comparison was conducted of DNA barcode sequencing-based identification and morphological identification of both large (>0.5 mm in length) and small (<0.5 mm in length) invertebrate specimens intercepted at the Australian border. DNA barcode sequencing results supported the morphological identification in most cases and enabled immature stages of invertebrates and their eggs to be identified more confidently. Results also showed that sequencing the COI barcode region using the ONT rapid sequencing principle is a cost-effective and field-adaptable approach for the rapid and accurate identification of invertebrate pests. Overall, the results suggest that MinION sequencing of DNA barcodes offers a complementary tool to the existing morphological diagnostic approaches and provides rapid, accurate, reliable and defendable evidence for identifying invertebrate pests at the border.