Aquarium Sciences and Conservation

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 91–104

DNA fingerprinting: application to conservation of the CITES-listed dragon fish, Scleropages formosus (Osteoglossidae)

  • A.A. Fernando
  • L.C. Lim
  • K. Jeyaseelan
  • S.W. Teng
  • M.C. Liang
  • C.K. Yeo


Since 1975,CITES has listed the dragon fish, Scleropages formosus, as anendangered species. In 1995, a captive-bred population was set upby a commercial fish farm with assistance from the PrimaryProduction Department in Singapore. Other farms in Indonesia andMalaysia followed suit. These populations have contributed to animmediate conservation of the species. Due to very high demandfor this ornamental fish, these venues may be its last sanctuary.

DNA fingerprints of the dragon fish were obtained by different methods from the green, red and gold varieties grown in a Singapore fish farm to determine which method was most suitable in providing information on genetic variability. Because a DNA fingerprint is a pattern made up of DNA fragments that are resolved by electrophoresis, each individual has its own unique ‘fingerprint’ due to a genetic make-up different from another individual. Thus, genetic variability was best studied by developing DNA fingerprints.

Firstly, restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) were obtained. DNA fragments formed by cleavage with nine restriction endonucleases used singly were hybridized individually to four non-radioactively labelled probes to give RFLPs. The RFLPs for each variety were similar and genomic DNA from each variety had many binding sites to the probes. This made differentiating RFLPs specific to individual varieties difficult. Secondly, random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprints were developed. DNA fragments that were resolved on a denaturing polyacrylamide gel were hybridized to seven arbitrary primers used singly. RAPD fingerprints for each variety were different for each primer tested. The similarity index indicated low genetic variability between varieties. Lastly, DNA was screened for microsatellite loci which refer to short tandem repeats of two or three bases. The occurrence of other microsatellite loci, their chromosome location and frequency is being investigated while primers have been designed to detect more loci by the polymerase chain reaction. As this method provides undisputed and reproducible evidence of relatedness and stock identification, and can be applied for long-term management of domesticated populations through pedigree construction and evaluation of heterozygosity, it is the preferred choice to determine genetic variability

Endangered fish DNA fingerprinting RFLP RAPD Microsatellites Captive-bred 


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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • A.A. Fernando
    • 1
  • L.C. Lim
    • 2
  • K. Jeyaseelan
    • 3
  • S.W. Teng
    • 1
  • M.C. Liang
    • 1
  • C.K. Yeo
    • 1
  1. 1.Chemical Process & Biotechnology DepartmentSingapore PolytechnicSingapore
  2. 2.Ornamental Fish Section, Primary Production DepartmentMinistry of National DevelopmentLorong ChencharuSingapore
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryNational University of SingaporeSingapore Kent RidgeSingapore

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