Dr. Iqbal Parwez is a Professor of Zoology who received his Ph.D. from the university of Delhi and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Japan. He is currently holding a senior faculty position at the Department of Zoology, AMU, Aligarh. He has published extensively in peer reviewed journals and have contributed chapters in the text books, guided many doctoral students for Ph.D. degree and is a member of various scientific societies. His current research interests are focussed on biodiversity conservation studies through genetic profiling which have been generously funded by various R and D agencies.


Indian subcontinent, one of the mega biodiversity zones abounds with nearly 2500 fish species and some of which are showing an alarming decline. Snakehead channid fishes distributed in Asian and African countries are represented by 30 species of which 27 are confined to Asian countries, 10 in Indian subcontinent and 4 ubiquitously distributed all across the country which are C. punctatus, C. gachua, C. marulius and C. striatus. These fishes constitute an important component of capture and culture fishery of India and are showing a steady decline in their wild population. Molecular characterization of these four Channid species to uncover inter- and intraspecies genetic diversity, their phylogenetic relationship and identification of unique species specific molecular marker(s) by RAPD Fingerprinting have been undertaken. Primers from OPA and OPB Kits were used to obtain the RAPD band profile of each species. Twelve primers gave fairly good amplification and reproducible band profile. Some selected primers generated species specific band for one, two or three species. However, OPA 12 was the only primer that clearly delineated all the four species in the same gel by generating characteristic species specific band and species specific profile. The genetic similarity (GS) values for most of the primers ranged between 0.83 to 1.0. The maximum and minimum values of Shannon Information index (I) is 0.344 and 0.115 for C. punctatus by primer OPA 4 and OPB 12 respectively. The polymorphic band contents of different species with selected primers showed a wide range from 14.2 % with OPA 20 for C. striatus to 57.1% with OPA 19 for C. punctatus. The above data clearly suggested that C. punctatus showed the highest degree of genetic variability and C. marulius the minimum which also corresponded to recorded decline index of these two species. Based on the above baseline data, the effective strategies for the conservation of these species will be devised. Keywords: Genetic diversity; Channid fishes; DNA fingerprinting; Species specificity

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