Important legal notice
Contact   |   Search on Europa   
SEARCH ON EU‑AGRINET  Links | Contacts | Disclaimer Printer Friendly
graphic element

Genetic identification of fish eggs by species-specific DNA markers for use in stock biomass Assessments and Detection of Commerical Fraud

Many species of fish within a group show overlapped distributions and spawning periods, and their eggs can be confounded in plankton surveys. In this project, it is proposed to improve a fisheries-independent method of fish spawning stock biomass estimation by developing genetic-based methods for the accurate identification of the early stages of the eggs of 12 commercially important marine species. The species are Trachurus Trachurus, T. Mediterraneus, T. Picturatus and Macrorhamphosus Scolopax (a species with eggs similar to horse mackerel eggs); Scomber Scombrus and S. Japonicus (species with eggs similar to mackerel eggs); Gadus Morhua, Melanogrammus Aeglefinus and Merlangius Merlangus (a species with eggs similar to cod eggs); Merluccius Merluccius, Lepidorhombus Whiffiagonis and L. Boscii (species with eggs similar to hake eggs). Probes will be also be developed for eight more species (hakes) for commercial fraud identification.

The objectives of this project are:
1) to determine the most suitable method of preserving fish eggs to allow both visual sorting and DNA recovery
2) to develop species-specific mtDNA and nDNA probes for Atlantic horse mackerel, Mediterranean horse mackerel, snipe fish, Atlantic mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cod, haddock, whiting, hake, Argentinean hake, austral hake, black hake, Chilean hake, Patagonian hake, Cape hake, Boston hake, Megrim whiffiagonis and Megrim boscii
3) to develop PCR-based protocols for gene probe identification of fish eggs
4) to assess the degree of improvement of the new PCR-based methods for egg identification of horse mackerel, mackerel, cod and hake with respect to the visual method of egg identification
5) to validate the method for the detection of commercial fraud in the European hake markets.

Progress to Date
At the start of the fourth year, objectives 1, 2, 3 and 5 had been completed.

The project has identified that 4% formaldehyde is the best product for visual identification of fish eggs.
Different protocols for successful DNA recovery from formaldehyde-fixed eggs have been developed.
Variation at mitochondrial and nuclear sequences provided species-specific markers for genetic identification of formaldehyde-fixed eggs of the four groups of species.
Successful identification of the species was achieved in fresh and pre-cooked hake commercialised for human consumption.
In its final year, the project has been assessing the degree of improvement of the new PCR-based methods for egg identification with respect to the visual method.


Scientist responsible for the project

Departamento Biologia Funcional, C/ Julian Claveria S/N
33006 Oviedo
Spain - ES

Phone: +34 985 103 076
Fax: +34 985 103 534


Project ID QLRT-1999-01157
Organisation University of Oviedo - Departamento de Biologia Funcional
Area 5.1.2
Start date 01 February 2000
Duration (months) 48
Total cost 1 545 705 €
Total EC contribution   1 292 149 €
Status Completed

The partners

  • IPIMAR Instituto de Investigaçao das Pescas e do Mar, Portugal - PT
  • University of East Anglia - School of Biological Sciences, United Kingdom (The) - GB

List by