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Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences
Vol. 23 (2), 2016, Pages: 161–171

Role of DNA barcoding in marine biodiversity assessment and conservation: An update

Subrata Trivedi, Abdulhadi A. Aloufi, Abid A. Ansari, Sankar K. Ghosh

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Tabuk, Tabuk 71491, Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

More than two third area of our planet is covered by oceans and assessment of marine biodiversity is a challenging task. With the increasing global population, there is a tendency to exploit marine resources for food, energy and other requirements. This puts pressure on the fragile marine environment and necessitates sustainable conservation efforts. Marine species identification using traditional taxonomical methods is often burdened with taxonomic controversies. Here we discuss the comparatively new concept of DNA barcoding and its significance in marine perspective. This molecular technique can be useful in the assessment of cryptic species which is widespread in marine environment and linking the different life cycle stages to the adult which is difficult to accomplish in the marine ecosystem. Other advantages of DNA barcoding include authentication and safety assessment of seafood, wildlife forensics, conservation genetics and detection of invasive alien species (IAS). Global DNA barcoding efforts in the marine habitat include MarBOL, CeDAMar, CMarZ, SHARK-BOL, etc. An overview on DNA barcoding of different marine groups ranging from the microbes to mammals is revealed. In conjugation with newer and faster techniques like high-throughput sequencing, DNA barcoding can serve as an effective modern tool in marine biodiversity assessment and conservation.

Keywords: DNA barcoding; Marine ecosystems; Biodiversity.

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