We developed primers for amplifying and sequencing highly degraded mtDNA from diverse fish species. The primers flank a variable 148-bp fragment within the 12S region of mtDNA. We screened and sequenced 82 samples of bony fishes representing 17 families to confirm cross-species amplification and identification. Salmonid species were analysed and demonstrate 13 species-specific SNPs within this region. Based on alignments of additional deposited sequences, these primers are conserved in many other species, making them useful for species identification using degraded DNA samples such as archaeological specimens.
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