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Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 14;9(1):4476. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40940-9.

'Genome skimming' with the MinION hand-held sequencer identifies CITES-listed shark species in India's exports market.

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Department of Biology, 5500 Campanile Dr., San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, 92128, USA.
College of Fisheries Science, Rajendra Bhuvan Road, Junagadh Agricultural University, Veraval, Gujarat, 362266, India.
Computational Sciences Research Center, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, 92128, USA.
Department of Biology, 5500 Campanile Dr., San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, 92128, USA.


Chondrichthyes - sharks, rays, skates, and chimeras, are among the most threatened and data deficient vertebrate species. Global demand for shark and ray derived products, drives unregulated and exploitative fishing practices, which are in turn facilitated by the lack of ecological data required for effective conservation of these species. Here, we describe a Next Generation Sequencing method (using the MinION, a hand-held portable sequencing device from Oxford Nanopore Technologies), and analyses pipeline for molecular ecological studies in Chondrichthyes. Using this method, the complete mitochondrial genome and nuclear intergenic and protein-coding sequences were obtained by direct sequencing of genomic DNA obtained from shark fin tissue. Recovered loci include mitochondrial barcode sequences- Cytochrome oxidase I, NADH2, 16S rRNA and 12S rRNA- and nuclear genetic loci such as 5.8S rRNA, Internal Transcribed Spacer 2, and 28S rRNA regions, which are commonly used for taxonomic identification. Other loci recovered were the nuclear protein-coding genes for antithrombin or SerpinC, Immunoglobulin lambda light chain, Preprogehrelin, selenium binding protein 1(SBP1), Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) and Recombination-Activating Gene 1 (RAG1). The median coverage across all genetic loci was 20x and sequence accuracy was ≥99.8% compared to reference sequences. Analyses of the nuclear ITS2 region and the mitochondrial protein-encoding loci allowed accurate taxonomic identification of the shark specimen as Carcharhinus falciformis, a CITES Appendix II species. MinION sequencing provided 1,152,211 bp of new shark genome, increasing the number of sequenced shark genomes to five. Phylogenetic analyses using both mitochondrial and nuclear loci provided evidence that Prionace glauca is nested within Carcharhinus, suggesting the need for taxonomic reassignment of P. glauca. We increased genomic information about a shark species for ecological and population genetic studies, enabled accurate identification of the shark tissue for biodiversity indexing and resolved phylogenetic relationships among multiple taxa. The method was independent of amplification bias, and adaptable for field assessments of other Chondrichthyes and wildlife species in the future.

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