Mitochondrial Marker for Studying European Picidae at Various Taxonomic Levels
Genetic data has tremendously deepen our knowledge of evolutionary history of populations and species as well as ecology and biology of the species. Appropriate molecular markers allow researchers to gain an insight into distribution of genetic diversity, starting from characterization of single individual, through description of processes having an influence on natural populations, to phylogenetic relationships among higher taxonomic units. Woodpeckers (Aves: Picidae) are especially sensitive to anthropogenic habitat changes, such as forest transformation resulting from silvicultural practices. As such they have been regarded as good biological indicators of forest biodiversity and therefore may play an important role as a model species in conservation biology. To broaden our understanding of woodpeckers' evolution, biology and ecology molecular techniques needs to be applied. Here, we developed pair of degenerate primers for amplification of hypervariable domain of mtDNA control region in wide range of European Picidae. High level of polymorphism of obtained sequences in majority of species indicate that amplified region will be very useful to study phylogeny, population genetics and phylogeography of the family.