DNA barcoding, as a fast and reliable technique, has already gained tremendous popularity among the biologists for identification of animals. Like other animal groups, an international consortium named Fish Barcode of Life (FISH-BOL) has been initiated with a target of barcoding all the fish species. DNA barcoding is a molecular approach to identifying species by comparing sequences of a short DNA fragment of an unknown sample derived by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) against the sequence of known species through alignment and phylogenetic tree construction. As a barcode, approximately 650 bp from the 5' end of Cytochrome oxidase 1 (CO1) gene of the mitochondrial genome has been found to be most effective in identifying fish and other animals with a high discrimination power. The objective of the study was to identify Sheirii (Lethrinus nebulosus) based on mitochondrial CO1 gene sequence-based DNA barcode. Sheirii samples were collected from Al Khor by the Department of Fisheries. Total DNA was extracted from the fin tissue using QIAGEN tissue/blood DNA extraction kit. PCR was conducted using universal primer pairs designed for the mitochondrial CO1 barcode region of animals. Both strands of the PCR-derived fragment of approximately 650bp were sequenced using a Big Dye Terminator kit (Applied Biosystems) and an ABI 3130 Genetic Analyzer. The molecular identification of the species was performed by comparing 601 nucleotide sequences of sheirii CO1 gene with those of relevant species collected from the GenBank using basic local alignment search tool (BLAST). The BLAST alignment of the sequence obtained in the present study showed 100% identity with the CO1 gene sequence of Lethrinus nebulosus available in the gene bank. Thus, the sheirii sample from Qatar has been correctly identified by the DNA barcoding technique. The findings of this study will be included in the databank of the FISH-BOL that are available for molecular identification of fish eggs, larvae and stomach contents of other predator fishes, processed fish and fish products in Qatar and worldwide. Molecular identification and assessing biodiversity would help implementing the national plan for sustainable utilization and conservation of local fish species.


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