Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures


Efficient Genetic Identification of Species and Geographic Origin of Body Parts From CITES and/or Legislatively Protected Shark Species

Event Name/Location

American Elasmobranch Society 21st Annual Meeting, Tampa, FL, July, 2005

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Heavy exploitation of sharks globally to satisfy the demands of the international fin market have resulted in trade in a few species considered particularly sensitive being restricted or controlled by national legislation or international accord (e.g. CITES). Despite these conservation efforts, however, trade in these species continues because law enforcement monitoring and surveillance is hindered by species identification problems. We present the development and application of a highly streamlined, robust, multiplex PCR assay for identification of basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus; CITES Appendix II) and sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus; protected in the U.S. and Australia) body parts in trade. Given the spatially "patchy" nature of national protective efforts for some species, identifying the geographic origin of the traded products will be needed for legal enforcement, and will be informative for assessing geographic trends in exploitation pressure. To this end, we will present preliminary data on development of a combined nuclear and mitochondrial locus, multiplex PCR assay that simultaneously distinguishes species and ocean-basin of origin for the sand tiger shark. The reslts suggest that if appropriate levels of population genetic structure exist, it should be possible to simultaneously determine species and population of origin of shark body parts with a single tube PCR.



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