Advantages and limitations of DNA barcoding in identifying commercially-exploited fish species

Andreea Dudu, Teodora Barbalata, Gina Oana Popa, Sergiu Emil Georgescu, Marieta Costache


DNA barcoding aims to be an effective tool for species identification based on partial sequence of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 gene (CO I). The method offers several advantages like small amount of biological samples needed, applicability for all life stages and differentiation among phenotypically alike species. Our study aimed at barcoding economically and ecologically important salmonids. The sequences were determined by using specific primers when the so-call universal primers failed to give amplifications. The sequences were BLAST with GenBank and BOLD databases for species identity confirmation. With one exception, the results of barcoding were congruent with the ones based on morphology in the cases when this last type of diagnostic was done. The method can be regular carried out for species identification, but is totally inefficient when is dealing with hybrids and should be avoided for species that can naturally hybridize.


DNA barcoding, CO I gene, salmonids, molecular diagnostic

Full Text:



Herbert, P.D.N., Cywinska, A., Ball., S.L., DeWaard, J.R., Biological identifications through DNA barcodes, Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 2003, 270, 313-321.

Becker, S., Hanner, R., Steinke, D., Five years of FISH-BOL: Brief status report, MDN, 2011, 22 (S1), 3-9.

Pereira, L., Hanner, R., Foresti, F., Oliveira, C., Can DNA barcoding accurately discriminate megadiverse Neotropical freshwater fish fauna?, 2013, BMC Genet, 14: 20.

Holmes, B.H., Steinke, D., Ward, R.D., Identification of shark and ray fins using DNA barcoding, 2009, Fish Res, 95, 280-288.

Nicole, S., Negrisolo, E., Eccher, G., Mantovani, R., Patarnello, T., Erickson, D. L., Kress, W. J., Barcaccia, G., DNA barcoding as a reliable method for the authentication of commercial seafood products, 2012, Food Technol. Biotechnol., 50(4), 387–398.

Dudu, A., Georgescu, S.E., Popa, O., Dinischiotu, A., Costache, M., Mitochondrial 16S and 12S rRNA sequence analysis in four salmonid species from Romania – phylogenetic aspects, Acta Zool. Acad. Sci. Hung., 2011, 57(3), 233-246.

Turujman, S. A., Warner, W. G., Wei, R. R., Albert, R. H., Rapid liquid chromatographic method to distinguish wild salmon from aquacultured salmon fed synthetic astaxanthin, J. AOAC Int., 1997, 80, 622–632.

Dudu, A., Georgescu, S. E., Dinischiotu, A., Costache, M. PCR-RFLP method to identify fish species of economic importance, Arch. zootech., 2010, 13 (1), 53-59.

Rasmussen, R. S., Morrissey, M. T., Walsh, J., Application of a PCR-RFLP method to identify salmon species in U.S. commercial products, 2010, J Aquat Food Prod T, 19(1), 3–15.

Hellberg, R. S., Rasmussen, Morrissey, M. T., Hanner, R. H., A multiplex PCR method for the identification of commercially important salmon and trout species (Oncorhynchus and Salmo) in North America. J. Food Sci., 2010, 75(7), C595–606.

Ward, R. D., Zemlak, T. S., Innes, B. H., Last, P. R., Hebert, P. D. N., DNA barcoding Australia's fish species, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 2005, 360, 1847–1857.

Untergasser, A., Cutcutache, I., Koressaar, T., Ye, J., Faircloth, B.C., Remm, M., Rozen, S.G. Primer3 - new capabilities and interfaces, 2012) Primer3 - new capabilities and interfaces, Nucleic Acids Res., 2012, 40(15), e115.

Koressaar, T., Remm, M., Enhancements and modifications of primer design program Primer3, Bioinformatics, 2007, 23(10), 1289-1291.

Hall, T.A., BioEdit: a user-friendly biological sequence alignement editor and analysis program for Windwos 95/98/NT, Nucleic Acids Symp Ser, 1999, 41, 95-98.

Posada, D., Crandall, K.A., Modeltest; testing the model of DNA substitution, Bionformatics, 1998, 14, 817-818.

Tamura, K., Peterson, D., Peterson, N., Stecher, G., Nei, M., Kumar, S., MEGA5: Molecular evolutionary genetics analysis using maximum likelihood, evolutionary distance, and maximum parsimony methods, Molecular Biology and Evolution, 2011, 28, 2731–2739.

Librado, P., Rozas J., DnaSPv5: A software for comprehensive analysis of DNA polymorphism data. Bioinformatics, 2009, 25, 1451-1452.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c)

Scientific Papers Animal Science and Biotechnologies publish open access articles under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence (read full legal code).


ISSN print 1841 - 9364
ISSN online 2344 - 4576
ISSN-L  1841 - 9364
(former ISSN 1221-5287, E-ISSN 1841-9364)

PAPER ACCESS: Full text articles available for free
FREQUENCY: Semiannual

Banat´s University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine "King Michael I of Romania" from Timisoara
Faculty of Animal Science and Biotechnologies
300645, Timişoara, Calea Aradului 119, Romania

E-mail: spasb [at]
Phone: +40-256-277160, Fax.: +40-256-277110