Abstract Submissions

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  • Abstracts must be submitted before April 28, 2017 through this online submission system.
  • Submitted abstracts may not exceed 300 words (excluding title, author names and affiliations).
  • For works presenting novel data or analyses, three subsections must be used, each followed by a colon – Background, Results, and Significance. Other types of works (e.g. reviews, conceptual advances) may use an alternative structure if suitable.
  • Abstracts should be written in plain English.
  • References should not be cited in the abstract unless they are absolutely essential, in which case full bibliographic information must be provided.
  • Submitters should select up to 3 session topics that most closely correspond to the research to be presented.
  • Abstracts will be selected by a peer review process. Notification of acceptance of abstracts: 30 April 2017.
  • All conference presenters will be invited to submit their work as a full journal for a special conference issue of Genome. All submitted works will be subjected to regular peer review.
  • Prize winners, together with other outstanding contributors to the poster and parallel sessions, will be invited to submit their work as full journal articles for a special conference issue.
  • A lightning talk is a 5 minute presentation plus poster.


  • Abstracts that were received by March 31st will be reviewed by April 30th, 2017. Abstracts received between April 1st and April 28th will be reviewed as soon as possible. You will be contacted by the scientific committee or session chairs by May 31st with a decision.



Assessing DNA barcodes as a diagnostic tool for North American reptiles and amphibians in nature and natural history collections

  1. Anne Chambers1 and Paul D.N. Hebert2

1Department of Integrative Biology, College of Natural Sciences, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA.

2Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.


Corresponding author: E. Anne Chambers (e-mail: eachambers@utexas.edu).


Background: High rates of loss and species discovery have led to the urgent need for more rapid assessments of species diversity and distribution in the herpetofauna, an approach now offered through DNA barcoding. Prior DNA barcoding work on reptiles and amphibians has revealed higher biodiversity counts than previously estimated due to cases of cryptic and undiscovered species in both classes. Despite past research, these taxa are very much in need of comprehensive species level coverage. Results: This study constructs a reference library of DNA barcodes for North American reptiles and amphibians and assesses their applicability as a technique for species delimitation. This study also examines the correspondence of current species boundaries with the BIN system. Barcodes were obtained from 732 specimens, representing 282 species (44%) of the North American herpetofauna. Mean intraspecific divergences were 1% and 3%, while average congeneric sequence divergences were 16% and 14% in amphibians and reptiles, respectively. BIN assignments corresponded perfectly with current species boundaries in 58% of these species. Barcode sharing was observed in four genera of reptiles, while deep divergences (>2%) were noted in 21% of the species. Using multiple primers and a refined PCR regime, barcode fragments were recovered from 5 of 208 formalin fixed specimens, demonstrating that formalin collections can expand genetic databases. Significance: This is the first effort to compile a reference library of DNA barcodes that provides species level identifications for reptiles and amphibians across a broad geographic area. DNA barcodes from North American herpetofauna were used to quickly and effectively flag errors in museum collections, and cases of BIN splits and merges successfully identified taxa belonging to deeply diverged or hybridizing lineages. This study also highlights the merit of further investigation into obtaining genetic material from formalin-fixed tissue and the use of DNA barcodes for biodiversity forensics.

Abstract Sumbissions

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