Research Publication Title

Identification of Hawaiian Tilapia Using Mitochondrial DNA Sequences

Major

Biology

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. David Weese

Keywords

Tilapia, Molecular Ecology, DNA sequencing

Abstract

Due to their large size and fast growth rates, numerous species of tilapia are extensively farmed throughout the Hawaiian Islands including Oreochromis. mossambicus, O. aureus, O. macrochir, Sarotherodon melanotheron, Tilapia rendalli, and T. zillii. Unfortunately, the same traits that make tilapia one of the most important species in aquaculture globally, make them likely to flourish and become established in areas where they have been introduced. Given this, the state has placed strict restrictions on the importation of many tilapia species such as O. niloticus. However it has been hypothesized that this species is already present in aquaculture facilities as well as freshwater and marine environments across the state. To test this hypothesis, students in the Molecular Ecology class, extracted and sequenced the mitochondrial DNA control regions of 40 tilapia samples taken from Anuenue Fisheries Research Center. Sequences were compared to known sequences from Genbank and species identification were determined using phylogenetic methods. Of the 40 samples collected, 28 were identified as either O. niloticus or O. niloticus x O. mossambicus hybrids.

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Identification of Hawaiian Tilapia Using Mitochondrial DNA Sequences

Due to their large size and fast growth rates, numerous species of tilapia are extensively farmed throughout the Hawaiian Islands including Oreochromis. mossambicus, O. aureus, O. macrochir, Sarotherodon melanotheron, Tilapia rendalli, and T. zillii. Unfortunately, the same traits that make tilapia one of the most important species in aquaculture globally, make them likely to flourish and become established in areas where they have been introduced. Given this, the state has placed strict restrictions on the importation of many tilapia species such as O. niloticus. However it has been hypothesized that this species is already present in aquaculture facilities as well as freshwater and marine environments across the state. To test this hypothesis, students in the Molecular Ecology class, extracted and sequenced the mitochondrial DNA control regions of 40 tilapia samples taken from Anuenue Fisheries Research Center. Sequences were compared to known sequences from Genbank and species identification were determined using phylogenetic methods. Of the 40 samples collected, 28 were identified as either O. niloticus or O. niloticus x O. mossambicus hybrids.