Molecular identification and temporal genetic differentiation of Cyprinus carpio (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae) eggs attached on artificial fish nests



Reproductive isolation by time can occur in fish populations composed of individuals with different reproductive schedules. Most studies have tested this phenomenon using mature fish rather than their offspring, which may mask signals of population relationships.


We directly sampled fish eggs from artificial fish nests at four different time instances and subsequently fed the eggs to fish larvae in an indoor laboratory. Fish larvae, of each timeline, were randomly selected for species identification using the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) gene and performed population analyses utilizing the concatenated sequences of COI gene and the mitochondrial control region (D-loop).


Neighbor-joining tree and Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery (ABGD) using COI sequences showed that all analyzed larvae can be assigned to the common carp (Cyprinus carpio). Significant differentiation among four demes inferred from the evidence of the concatenated sequences indicated temporal structuring in C. carpio demes within a reproductive season. Haplotype networks and a Bayesian method in BAPS also detected signals of population differentiation among the four demes.


The pattern observed in C. carpio demes revealed the reproductive strategy of the species and provided knowledge allowing establishment of conservation units.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Data availability

DNA sequences have been deposited in GenBank under Accession numbers MT089581–MT089602, MT089604–MT089622, MT089624–MT089703, MT093860–MT093985, and MW228494–MW228497. Details regarding individual samples are available in Table S1 and Table S2.

Plant reproducibility

The nest material (Arundo donax) is a recycling plant species that have wide distributions.


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We are grateful to Maochuan Ao for assistances in collecting specimens.


This research was supported by National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFD0900903) and Central Public-interest Scientific Institution Basal Research Fund, CAFS (2017HY-ZD0103).

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WTC, XHL and YFL designed the research and wrote the initial manuscript. WTC, SLZ and YFL performed the sampling and laboratory analyses.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Xinhui Li or Yuefei Li.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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All experimental protocols were approved by the Ethics Committee of the Pearl River Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Science. Te policies were enacted according to Chinese Association for Laboratory Animal Sciences, and coordinated with the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocols (

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Chen, W., Zhu, S., Li, X. et al. Molecular identification and temporal genetic differentiation of Cyprinus carpio (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae) eggs attached on artificial fish nests. Conservation Genet Resour (2021).

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  • Cyprinus carpio
  • DNA barcodes
  • D-loop
  • Temporal differentiation
  • Fish eggs and larvae
  • Artificial fish nest