DNA-Based Identification and Chemical Characteristics of Hypnea musciformis from Coastal Sites in Ghana

Marcel Tutor Ale, Kristian Barrett, Gloria Addico, Nanna Rhein-Knudsen, Amoako deGraft-Johnson, Anne S. Meyer

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This work reveals new, important insights about the influence of broad spatial variationson the phylogenetic relationship and chemical characteristics of Ghanaian Hypnea musciformis—acarrageenan-containing red seaweed. DNA barcoding techniques alleviate the difficulty for accurate morphological identification. COI barcode sequences of the Ghanaian H. musciformis showed <0.7% intraspecies divergence, indicating no distinct phylogenetic variation, suggesting that they actually belong to the same species. Thus, the spatial distribution of the sampling sites along the coast of Ghana did not influence the phylogenetic characteristics of H. musciformis in the region. The data also showed that the Ghanaian Hypnea sp. examined in this work should be regarded as the same species as the H. musciformis collected in Brazilian Sao Paulo (KP725276) with only 0.8%–1.3% intraspecies divergence. However, the comparison of COI sequences of Ghanaian H. musciformis with the available COI sequence of H. musciformis from other countries showed intraspecies divergences of0%–6.9% indicating that the COI sequences for H. musciformis in the GenBank may include different subspecies. Although samples did not differ phylogenetically, the chemical characteristics of the H. musciformis differed significantly between different sampling locations in Ghana. The levels ofthe monosaccharides, notably galactose (20%–30% dw) and glucose (10%–18% dw), as well as the seawater inorganic salt concentration (21–32 mg/L) and ash content (19%–33% dw), varied between H. musciformis collected at different coastal locations in Ghana. The current work demonstrated that DNA-based identification allowed a detailed understanding of H. musciformis phylogenetic characteristics and revealed that chemical compositional differences of H. musciformis occur along the Ghanaian coast which are not coupled with genetic variations among those samples.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


  • DNA barcodes
  • LSU
  • UPA
  • COI
  • Hypnea musciformis
  • Marine biodiversity
  • Carrageenan
  • Spatial variation
  • Seaweed
  • Phylogenetic
  • Ghana

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  • Danida (External organisation)

    Marcel Tutor Ale (Participant)

    3 Mar 201611 Mar 2016

    Activity: MembershipMembership of research networks or expert groups

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