Skip to main content
A Streamlined DNA Tool for Global Identification of Heavily Exploited Coastal Shark Species (Genus Rhizoprionodon)
  • D. Pinhal, Universidade Estadual Paulista
  • Mahmood S. Shivji, Nova Southeastern University
  • Pedro G. Nachtigall, Universidade Estadual Paulista
  • Demian D. Chapman, State University of New York - Stony Brook
  • Cesar Martins, Universidade Estadual Paulista
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Sharks,
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction,
  • Fisheries,
  • Genetic Loci,
  • DNA Annealing,
  • Gene Targeting,
  • Marine Fish,
  • Nucleotide Sequencing
Peer Reviewed
Obtaining accurate species-specific landings data is an essential step toward achieving sustainable shark fisheries. Globally distributed sharpnose sharks (genus Rhizoprionodon) exhibit life-history characteristics (rapid growth, early maturity, annual reproduction) that suggests that they could be fished in a sustainable manner assuming an investment in monitoring, assessment and careful management. However, obtaining species-specific landings data for sharpnose sharks is problematic because they are morphologically very similar to one another. Moreover, sharpnose sharks may also be confused with other small sharks (either small species or juveniles of large species) once they are processed (i.e., the head and fins are removed). Here we present a highly streamlined molecular genetics approach based on seven species-specific PCR primers in a multiplex format that can simultaneously discriminate body parts from the seven described sharpnose shark species commonly occurring in coastal fisheries worldwide. The species-specific primers are based on nucleotide sequence differences among species in the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 2 locus (ITS2). This approach also distinguishes sharpnose sharks from a wide range of other sharks (52 species) and can therefore assist in the regulation of coastal shark fisheries around the world.

©2012 Pinhal et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Additional Comments
This work was supported by grants to DP and CM from the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP - grant numbers 07/03067-8 and 07/03065-5) and grants from the Save Our Seas Foundation and Hai Stiftung/Shark Foundation to MSS.
Citation Information
: Pinhal D, Shivji MS, Nachtigall PG, Chapman DD, Martins C (2012) A Streamlined DNA Tool for Global Identification of Heavily Exploited Coastal Shark Species (Genus Rhizoprionodon). PLoS ONE 7(4): e34797. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034797