Widespread utility of highly informative AFLP molecular markers across divergent shark species

Kyall R. Zenger, Adam J. Stow*, Victor Peddemors, David A. Briscoe, Robert G. Harcourt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Population numbers of many shark species are declining rapidly around the world. Despite the commercial and conservation significance, little is known on even the most fundamental aspects of their population biology. Data collection that relies on direct observation can be logistically challenging with sharks. Consequently, molecular methods are becoming increasingly important to obtain knowledge that is critical for conservation and management. Here we describe an amplified fragment length polymorphism method that can be applied universally to sharks to identify highly informative genome-wide polymorphisms from 12 primer pairs. We demonstrate the value of our method on 15 divergent shark species within the superorder Galeomorphii, including endangered species which are notorious for low levels of genetic diversity. Both the endangered sand tiger shark (Carcharodon taurus, N = 18) and the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias, N = 7) displayed relatively high levels of allelic diversity. A total of 59 polymorphic loci (He = 0.373) and 78 polymorphic loci (He = 0.316) were resolved in C. taurus and C. carcharias, respectively. Results from other sharks (e.g., Orectolobus ornatus, Orectolobus sp., and Galeocerdo cuvier) produced remarkably high numbers of polymorphic loci (106, 94, and 86, respectively) from a limited sample size of only 2. A major constraint to obtaining much needed genetic data from sharks is the time-consuming process of developing molecular markers. Here we demonstrate the general utility of a technique that provides large numbers of informative loci in sharks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-611
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


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