That fish on your dinner plate may not have been caught legally. To determine the difference between legally and illegally harvested fish, researchers have turned to gene markers, reports ScienceNow. Similar DNA fingerprinting efforts have been used to uncover mislabeled fish — Atlantic cod masquerading as red snapper. This new identification method, called FishPopTrace, relies on SNPs that vary among populations of Europe's four most over-harvested fish — cod, hake, herring, and sole. As researchers led by Gary Carvalho from Bangor University in the UK report in Nature Communications, their population-genomic-based approach could correctly identify 93 percent to 100 percent of fish. "Our results demonstrate how application of gene-associated markers will likely revolutionize origin assignment and become highly valuable tools for fighting illegal fishing and mislabeling worldwide," Carvalho and his colleagues write.
May 24, 2012