Background

Results so far

1. COI sequence differences are generally much smaller within species than between species. Most bird species examined so far are represented as single sequence clusters distinct from those of other species, enabling precise assignment of specimens to species by DNA barcode.  Results so far show low mitochondrial sequence variation within most tropical, temperate, migratory, and resident species, regardless of census population size, including those with a few thousand individuals up to those with several hundred million individuals.

2. COI barcodes reveal provisional new species even in well-studied groups, suggesting there are many new bird species lurking in museum drawers, waiting to be discovered.

 3. As of October 2007, barcode records for approximately 10,666 individuals from 2,125 species (21% of world birds) have been deposited in BOLD, and those from published studies are uploaded to GenBank/EMBL/DDBJ, with reciprocal linkages between BOLD and GenBank/EMBL/DDBJ records. Most avian DNA barcodes derive from archived museum tissue collections backed up by study skins, allowing puzzling results to be investigated further. A pictorial snapshot of avian barcode records, updated daily, is available under Aves on BOLD Taxonomy Browser.

4. Some bird species have shared or overlapping COI sequences. So far, most appear to be very young species or forms that hybridize regularly; some may represent populations within a single species.

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