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DNA barcode identification of commercial fish sold in Mexican markets

Stephanie Sarmiento-Camacho, Martha Valdez-Moreno
Genome 2018 v.61 no.6 pp. 457-466
Carcharhinus, DNA barcoding, Hyporthodus, Isurus oxyrinchus, Lachnolaimus maximus, Lopholatilus, Makaira nigricans, Pangasianodon hypophthalmus, Seriola dumerili, Sphyrna lewini, coasts, conservation status, fillets, markets, sharks, species identification, Caribbean, Mexico
The substitution of high-value fish species for those of lower value is common practice. Although numerous studies have addressed this issue, few have been conducted in Mexico. In this study, we sought to identify fresh fillets of fish, sharks, and rays using DNA barcodes. We analyzed material from “La Viga” in Mexico City, and other markets located on the Gulf and Caribbean coasts of Mexico. From 134 samples, we obtained sequences from 129, identified to 9 orders, 28 families, 38 genera, and 44 species. The most common species were Seriola dumerili, Pangasianodon hypophthalmus, Carcharhinus falciformis, Carcharhinus brevipinna, and Hypanus americanus. Pangasianodon hypophthalmus was most commonly used as a substitute for higher-value species. The substitution rate was 18% of the total. A review of the conservation status of the specimens identified against the IUNC list enabled us to establish that some species marketed in Mexico are threatened: Makaira nigricans, Lachnolaimus maximus, Hyporthodus flavolimbatus, and Isurus oxyrinchus are classified as vulnerable; Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps and Sphyrna lewini are endangered; and the status of Hyporthodus nigritus is critical. These results will demonstrate to the Mexican authorities that DNA barcoding is a reliable tool for species identification, even when morphological identification is difficult or impossible.