Neotropical fish correspond to approximately 30% of all fish species worldwide. The diversity of fish species found in Neotropical basins reflects variations in life-history strategies and exhibition of particular morphological, physiological and ecological attributes. These attributes are mainly related to different forms of feeding, life maintenance and reproduction. Today, fish populations are being threatened by anthropogenic actions that are having a visible impact on the natural state of continental aquatic ecosystems. The main causes are overfishing, non-native species introduction, reservoir-dam systems, mining, pollution and deforestation. The biology and population dynamics of the species are still unclear due to lack of research. Genetic tools can be useful resources for the conservation of Neotropical fish species in several ways. Molecular genetic markers are considered powerful tools to identify cryptic and hybrid fish and also allow the evaluation of the genetic variability and structure of populations of Neotropical ichthyofauna. Several analyses of molecular markers have been performed on Neotropical fish, including allozyme analysis, restriction fragment length polymorphisms in regions of DNA (RFLP), randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (AFLP), randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), microsatellites, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers. In order to analyse a high number of markers, next generation sequencing has allowed researchers to generate a large amount of genomic information that can be applied to the conservation of Neotropical fish.
Part of the book: Biological Resources of Water