International Journal of Pure and Applied Zoology

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A REVIEW ON MOLECULAR MARKERS AS TOOLS TO STUDY EARTHWORM DIVERSITY

‘Earthworms’, the natural creature and unsung heroes of soil have gained much of the scientific attention throughout the world including India to maintain fertility of soil and dietary protein source for domestic animals. Earthworms play an important role in soil ecology and are well recognized as engineers of soil. They occupy a vital position in soil food-webs. Aristotle called them intestines of the earth and considered as important biological resources that have tremendous potential in agricultural ecosystems as they remarkably influences physical structure as well organic matter composition of the soil. Of globally estimated 6500 species of earthworms, only 3500 species are discovered and described. Indian subcontinent has got a massive fauna of Oligochaete, (earthworms) which are represented by 505 species and 67 genera. Molecular markers such as Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD), Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP), and Simple Sequence (SSR) have proved to be worthy and important in assessing genetic diversity. Recently DNA barcoding has exposed unexpected number of species that were often impossible to be isolated on morphological basis. The present study reviewed the diversity of earthworms with integrated approach of taxonomy including molecular markers.

Author(s): Shweta Yadav and Muner Mullah