Sturgeons are well known for the delicacy of their eggs, the caviar, one of the most valuable products on the food market. The high price of caviar led in the past to a severe overharvest of wild sturgeon species and to an increase in trade of counterfeit products sold with impunity in spite of the strict trade limitations. A priority in the effort to reduce illegal trading is the development of genetic tools in order to identify the species of traded products using a standardized, cheap and rapid approach. We developed the first genetic nuclear marker for the identification of the Beluga sturgeon (Huso huso), the most sought-after caviar producer. We explored the interspecific variability at the setond intron of the nuclear S6 Ribosomal Protein (RP2S6), selected among 1867 introns, predicted by aligning the transcriptome of 3 sturgeon species with 3 complete fish genomes. The Beluga-specific SNP was identified by cloning and sequencing RP2S6 in 65 individuals of 11 species, validated on 341 additional individuals and tested on 18 caviar samples. Diagnostic primers designed on the SNP successfully amplified the expected band in all Beluga specimens while no PCR product was obtained from other pure species. The marker can also contribute to the identification of interspecific hybrids in which the Beluga is one of the parent species, such as in the case of the Bester, which produces one of the most mislabeled caviars in trade. The complete identification power on this highly relevant species and the proved efficacy on caviar samples represent an essential progress towards a standardized panel of nuclear markers for the control of illegal poaching, smuggling and mislabeling of sturgeons and their products.

Fast genetic identification of the Beluga sturgeon and its sought-after caviar to stem illegal trade

BOSCARI, ELISA;VITULO, NICOLA;CARUSO, CHIARA;PAPETTI, CHIARA;MARINO, ILARIA ANNA MARIA;ZANE, LORENZO;CONGIU, LEONARDO
2017

Abstract

Sturgeons are well known for the delicacy of their eggs, the caviar, one of the most valuable products on the food market. The high price of caviar led in the past to a severe overharvest of wild sturgeon species and to an increase in trade of counterfeit products sold with impunity in spite of the strict trade limitations. A priority in the effort to reduce illegal trading is the development of genetic tools in order to identify the species of traded products using a standardized, cheap and rapid approach. We developed the first genetic nuclear marker for the identification of the Beluga sturgeon (Huso huso), the most sought-after caviar producer. We explored the interspecific variability at the setond intron of the nuclear S6 Ribosomal Protein (RP2S6), selected among 1867 introns, predicted by aligning the transcriptome of 3 sturgeon species with 3 complete fish genomes. The Beluga-specific SNP was identified by cloning and sequencing RP2S6 in 65 individuals of 11 species, validated on 341 additional individuals and tested on 18 caviar samples. Diagnostic primers designed on the SNP successfully amplified the expected band in all Beluga specimens while no PCR product was obtained from other pure species. The marker can also contribute to the identification of interspecific hybrids in which the Beluga is one of the parent species, such as in the case of the Bester, which produces one of the most mislabeled caviars in trade. The complete identification power on this highly relevant species and the proved efficacy on caviar samples represent an essential progress towards a standardized panel of nuclear markers for the control of illegal poaching, smuggling and mislabeling of sturgeons and their products.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3224688
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