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Molecular genetics and the management and conservation of marine organisms

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 12:36 authored by Sweijd, NA, Bowie, RCK, Evans, BS, Lopata, AL
Biochemical and molecular species identification techniques have a broad range of applications in the management and conservation of marine organisms. While species boundaries are not always clearly defined, phylogeneticists utilise autapomorphic characters to distinguish phylogenetic species. Genetic markers discriminate between marine taxa when traditional morphological distinctions are unclear. The applications of these techniques can be divided into four general categories. Firstly, compliance enforcement, which often depends on genetic identification techniques to enable officials to identify the species to which regulations pertain. Secondly, quality control applications, to allow for the testing of marine products to guard against fraudulent substitution with less valuable species, which is particularly pertinent since processing often obliterates identifiable features. Thirdly, a variety of applications to ecological and life-history studies and conservation management are reported. Here, the genetic identification techniques of species from cryptic life-cycle stages or of morphologically indistinct species are an indispensable tool for marine scientists, conservators and managers. Lastly, the application of genetic techniques for sourcing population origin is briefly discussed. The biochemical and molecular techniques applied to species identification all exploit phenotypic or genotypic polymorphisms that are sampled using either tertiary level protein based methods or primary level DNA based methods. In this review, examples of the applications along with the total protein, allozyme, serological, PCR and other DNA based methodologies are briefly described and some generalities with regard to their use are presented.


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Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Kluwer Academic Publishers

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences

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