Barcoding Fish! Yup...

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Barcoding Fish! Yup...

November 22, 2016 - 08:36

Read the article below about the first use of genetic barcoding of fish by clicking on the title or picture.

Barcoding for quick identification

​Exotic species released into the wild often become feral and overwhelm native species, but pest control measures can’t be used until the identity of the invader is confirmed.

Until recently, biological specimens were identified using morphological features like the shape, size and colour of body parts but this can be a tedious process and requires specialist expertise.

If a specimen is damaged or in immature stage, even a specialist might be unable to identify it and that’s when DNA barcoding can be a handy tool.

Barcoding uses a very short genetic sequence from a standard part of the genome the way a supermarket scanner distinguishes products using the black stripes of the Universal Product Code (UPC).

DNA is extracted from the specimen then a target region of the gene is amplified and sequenced. The sequence is matched to a global database of identified sequences.

Our molecular team has been working with our biosecurity team to identify species in freshwater bodies in Western Australia. We have barcoded catfish (Tandanus tandanus and T. bostocki), Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii) and shrimps (Palaemontes and Caridina).

In the case of the indistinct river shrimp (Caridina indistincta), its identity was confirmed and phylogenetic methods determined the likely origins of the introduced shrimp.

Barcoding allows the quick identification of pest species and helps management efforts. It will also play an important part in the development of other fast and effective molecular monitoring tools such as eDNA.

Article published by the Department of Fisheries, Western Australia in the Freshwater Guardian eNewsletter, August 2016.

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