Identifying Species from a Single Caviar Egg
News Jun 02, 2017 | Original story from Hokkaido University
The fish species Beluga sturgeon is known to produce the best caviar, large eggs with a delicious taste, and are therefore traded at high prices. The number of Beluga sturgeons plunged over the past century due to overfishing and deterioration of their natural habitat. They are listed as critically endangered species and international trade is strictly controlled under the Washington Convention (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
The decline in the natural population of Beluga has led to the development of various sturgeon cultures across the world. In particular, Bester (a hybrid between a Beluga and a Sterlet) is considered suitable for culturing to produce caviar. It is, however, virtually impossible to identify the species of eggs by merely looking at their appearance.
Hokkaido University researchers, in collaboration with the Czech Republic’s University of South Bohemia, have now identified DNA sequences that distinguish Beluga and Sterlet from eight other sturgeon species. Using the modern method of molecular genetics, the team identified species-specific variants in the genome of Beluga and Sterlet sturgeons. Taking advantage of these variants, they have developed a simple method using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) which detects targeted variants, enabling Beluga caviar to be identified and distinguished from Bester and other species.
“The new tool developed in our research can accurately and swiftly identify Beluga caviar at a low cost, which will help international trade of this gourmet food to be conducted fairly. It should also help manage sturgeons as a resource, thereby protecting the diversity of the species,” says Miloš Havelka at Hokkaido University.
This article has been republished from materials provided by Hokkaido University. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.
Havelka, M., Fujimoto, T., Hagihara, S., Adachi, S., & Arai, K. (2017). Nuclear DNA markers for identification of Beluga and Sterlet sturgeons and their interspecific Bester hybrid. Scientific Reports, 7(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-01768-3
Magnetic Treatment Helps Remove ‘Off-Flavor’ from WinesNews
From vine to wine, grapes undergo a remarkable transformation. But sometimes this makeover results in vino that doesn’t taste quite right. In a new study scientists report that they have found a way to use tiny magnetic particles to remove off-tasting substances in cabernet sauvignon without altering its desired bouquet.READ MORE
Giant Viruses Invent Their Own GenesNews
Three new members have been isolated and added to the Pandoravirus family. This strange family of viruses, with their giant genomes and many genes with no known equivalents, surprised scientists when they were discovered a few years ago. This new study notes that pandoraviruses appear to be factories for new genes – and therefore new functions.