The goal of the C-Bar (Chrysomelidae Barcoding) project, developed with the partnership of the International Barcode of Life project (iBOL) and included in the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD), is the creation of DNA repository (sequences and specimens database) for the Leaf Beetles of the Mediterranean Region. The project aims to obtain a DNA repository for a fragment of approximately 650 base pairs of the mitochondrial gene coding for Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I for all the Leaf Beetles species present in the Mediterranean Region.
The main purposes are:
a) to realize a census of Chrysomelidae inhabitant the Mediterranean ecosystems
b) to realize a tool able to identify at species level adult, pre-imaginal stages and fragments of biological samples
c) to study and to oversee the genetic diversity of Chrysomelidae
d) to built faunistic data base publicly available for studies focused on biodiversity conservation.
The obtained molecular data (650 base pairs of the gene Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I) allow also the identification of cryptospecies undetectable morphologically. Moreover, when laboratory practices and technology will allow routine molecular analysis, even the species identification in the absence of expertise will be possible. These data permit to obtain valuable information on the intraspecific genetic variability (analyzing samples from different localities of the species distribution area), ┬áthe evolutionary dynamics and ┬áthe timing of speciation. A further possibility provided by C-Bar project, quite innovative even in the context of the revolutionary applications of molecular biosystematics, is the molecular characterization of the gut content of the specimens. In this way you could get an overwhelming amount of information on the host plants, greatly increasing the modest knowledge of the biology of the majority of our species. Finally, the collected data can be used in the census on the fauna of a particular ecosystem or of entire nations, as well as in biogeographic studies to define and/or complete information on the species distribution and possibly increase knowledge about the species phenology.