DNA-based methods for the identification of huchen (Hucho hucho, Linnaeus, 1758)

Gina-Oana Popa, Andreea Dudu, Luis Ovidiu Popa, Marilena Maereanu, Marieta Costache, Sergiu Emil Georgescu


The Danube salmon or huchen (Hucho hucho, Linnaeus, 1758) is an endemic species in the Danube basin, being almost extinct in particular because of anthropogenic activities. The huchen has a special status throughout Europe, being listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention and on Annexes II and V of the EU Habitat Directive and is a protected species in Romania. Molecular methods that use nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers are recommended in order to contribute for a better management of aquaculture activities and also to improve the measures for conservation of endangered species such huchen. Our study aims to evaluate several DNA-based methods for species identification of Hucho hucho from the wild and aquaculture. We proposed two methods focused on the mitochondrial genome (DNA barcoding and PCR-RFLP), and one on the nuclear markers (genotyping). Methods that analyse the mitochondrial genome are focused on the COI gene and D-loop/Cytb regions, while those that analyse nuclear markers are focused on microsatellites. Therefore, techniques such as PCR-RFLP, sequencing and genotyping gave results that were easily interpretable and could be recommended as powerful species detection methods with applicability in aquaculture and for restocking purposes.


huchen; molecular identification; PCR-RFLP; sequencing; genotyping

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