Send to

Choose Destination
Gene. 2012 Jan 1;491(1):40-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2011.09.009. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Evaluation of the 16S and 12S rRNA genes as universal markers for the identification of commercial fish species in South Africa.

Author information

Department of Food Science, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602, South Africa.


The development of DNA-based methods for the identification of fish species is important for fisheries research and control, as well as for the detection of unintentional or fraudulent species substitutions in the marketplace. The aim of this study was to generate a comprehensive reference database of DNA sequences from the mitochondrial 16S and 12S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes for 53 commercial fish species in South Africa and to evaluate the applicability of these genetic markers for the identification of fish at the species level. The DNA extracted from all target species was readily amplified using universal primers targeting both rRNA gene regions. Sequences from the 16S and 12S rRNA genes were submitted to GenBank for the first time for 34% and 53% of the fish species, respectively. Cumulative analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed mean conspecific, congeneric and confamilial Kimura two parameter (K2P) distances of 0.03%, 0.70% and 5.10% and the corresponding values at the 12S level were 0.03%, 1.00% and 5.57%. K2P neighbour-joining trees based on both sequence datasets generally clustered species in accordance with their taxonomic classifications. The nucleotide variation in both the 16S and 12S sequences was suitable for identifying the large majority of the examined fish specimens to at least the level of genus, but was found to be less useful for the explicit differentiation of certain congeneric fish species. It is recommended that one or more faster-evolving DNA regions be analysed to confirm the identities of closely-related fish species in South Africa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center