Friday May 27, 2022

New Atlas

Despite protective measures being in place, endangered fish species are regularly caught then sold in open markets. And while visually searching them out can be difficult, a new technology could more easily allow authorities to know which species are being sold at one location.

Aquatic animals are constantly releasing their DNA into the water, in the form of body fluids, sloughed skin and excrement.

This cast-off DNA is known as environmental DNA, or eDNA for short. By taking a water sample from a given geographical location, then determining which species’ eDNA is present in that sample, it’s therefore possible to ascertain which species are living in the area.

In recent years, the technique has been utilized to assess the biodiversity of coral reefs, check if great white sharks are nearby, and even search for the Loch Ness monster. It should be noted that eDNA analysis also works for the detection of land-based animals.

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