3 years ago

Using in situ hybridization to expand the daily egg production method to new fish species

Gretchen L. Grammer, Emma L. Westlake, Sarah R. Catalano, Melissa L. Wos-Oxley, Mike A. Steer, Andrew P. A. Oxley
The capacity to reliably identify fish eggs is critical in the application of the daily egg production method (DEPM) to estimate biomass of commercially important species. This application has largely been confined to species that have easily identifiable eggs. Various molecular strategies have been used to extend the DEPM to a broader range of species, with recent approaches like in situ hybridization (ISH) that preserves the integrity of whole eggs, embryos or larvae recommended as a suitable alternative over destructive procedures like PCR. Here, we designed and validated an ISH approach for the identification of whole eggs and larvae from Snapper (Chrysophrys auratus) from environmental samples using the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene as a target for specific horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-conjugated oligonucleotide probes. This colorimetric assay allowed the highly specific detection of positive hybridization signals from intact C. auratus larvae and eggs from mixed-species samples comprising closely related taxa. Furthermore, evaluation of whole eggs across a range of developmental stages revealed the sensitivity of the approach for discerning early stages, thereby guiding staging and the identification of otherwise indistinguishable eggs from environmental samples. This approach represents a major advance from current molecular-based strategies as it is nondestructive and allows for the simultaneous identification and staging of fish eggs (and larvae). The resultant 100% egg identification certainty we have achieved allows the DEPM to be applied to a wider array of fish species and is particularly applicable to species in areas where morphologically similar eggs are being spawned at the same time.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.12707

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