A PCR technique for forensic, species-level identification of abalone tissue

Neville A. Sweijd, Rauri C.K. Bowie, Andreas L. Lopata, Anthony M. Marinaki, Peter A. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Although the incidence of abalone poaching is increasing in South Africa, several alleged poachers have been acquitted in cases where the state has been unable to prove that the confiscated meat is of the local abalone, Haliotis midae. This species is illegally exported to the Far East by poaching syndicates, a practice that is undermining the legitimate industry. To solve this, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique that targets a portion of the lysin gene of several abalone species and unequivocally distinguishes between H. midae and H. spadicea (a sympatric congeneric) has been developed. The PCR primers specifically amplify approximately 1,300 bp of genomic DNA from dried, cooked, and fresh abalone tissue. A smaller fragment of 146 bp is used for canned abalone. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) exploit interspecific polymorphisms that discriminate between these two species. The method can also be used to identify H. rubra and can easily be adapted to other abalone species under the same threat of overexploitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-895
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Shellfish Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'A PCR technique for forensic, species-level identification of abalone tissue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this