New Molecular Tools for the Identification of 2 Endangered Smooth-Hound Sharks

paper3Published on 25. November 2014

New Molecular Tools for the Identification of 2 Endangered Smooth-Hound Sharks, Mustelus mustelus and Mustelus punctulatus

Ilaria A. M. Marino, Emilio Riginella, Alessia Cariani, Fausto Tinti, Edward D. Farrell, Carlotta Mazzoldi, Lorenzo Zane


The smooth-hounds represent a significant proportion of the elasmobranch catch in the Adriatic basin of the Mediterranean Sea, where the common (Mustelus mustelus) and blackspotted (Mustelus punctulatus) smooth-hounds co-occur. The 2 species share several morphological and morphometric characters that lead to frequent misidentification. In order to provide information useful for their species identification, we performed a morphological identification of several Mustelus specimens to select individuals unambiguously attributed to 1 of the 2 species, and assayed these with 3 new molecular tests. First, we developed and validated a mitochondrial DNA assay based on species-specific amplification of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI). Second, a fragment analysis of 15 microsatellites cross-amplified from several triakid species was performed to identify diagnostic loci. Finally, a length difference was identified in the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region and a diagnostic test based on its amplification was established. All the samples classified morphologically as M. mustelus and M. punctulatus showed a species-specific profile using all the 3 molecular tests. In addition, cross-amplification of microsatellites allowed identification of 9 highly polymorphic loci that will be useful for the study of the mating system and population differentiation of the 2 species.

Journal of Heredity (2014) doi: 10.1093/jhered/esu064



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