Multiplex PCR and RFLP approaches for identification of rabbitfish (Siganus) species using mitochondrial gene regions


R. G. Ravago-Gotanco, Fax: +63-2-924-7678; E-mail:


Molecular assays are described for the identification of six rabbitfish (Siganus) species. A multiplex PCR assay using primers targeting the mitochondrial cytochrome b region simultaneously identifies four species: Siganus canaliculatus, S. fuscescens, S. javus, and S. spinus. Subsequent RFLP assays of multiplex amplicons differentiate between S. virgatus and S. corallinus based on diagnostic fragments from the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I region. Assays were validated with known specimens demonstrating accuracy of the molecular identification. Applied to morphologically indistinguishable early developmental stages, these assays can facilitate studies on species-specific spatio-temporal patterns of larval dispersal and population connectivity to aid fishery management.