Phylogenetic Evidence for a Case of Misleading Rather than Mislabeling in Caviar in the United Kingdom

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Sturgeons and paddlefish are freshwater fish which are highly valued for their caviar. Despite the fact that every single species of sturgeon and paddlefish is listed under CITES, there are reports of illegal trade in caviar where products are deliberately mislabeled. Three samples of caviar purchased in the United Kingdom were investigated for accurate CITES labeling using COI and cyt b sequencing. Initial species identification was carried out using BLAST followed by phylogenetic analyses using both maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. Results showed no evidence for mislabeling with respect to CITES labels in any of the three samples, but we observed clear evidence for a case of misleading the customer in one sample.

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