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Species identification in the water bottle

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Environmental DNA analysis makes it possible to detect water organisms without having to capture them first. For the first time, a team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) systematically investigated the effect of various environmental factors on environmental DNA analyses. By doing so, the researchers have made an important step towards the standardized application of this method for the monitoring of water bodies.

Environmental DNA analysis makes it possible to detect water organisms without having to capture them first. For the first time, a team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) systematically investigated the effect of various environmental factors on environmental DNA analyses. By doing so, the researchers have made an important step towards the standardized application of this method for the monitoring of water bodies.

DNA that animals release into aquatic environment can be detected using molecular analysis. This detection method is called environmental DNA (eDNA) A simple water sample is sufficient for this technique. However, this method does not work equally well in all water bodies and is therefore very likely to be influenced by the respective conditions in each body of water. This may include organic and inorganic components in the water or the flow conditions. So far, there is almost no research on how strongly the individual factors affect the analysis procedure. 

Dr. Bernhard Stoeckle and Dr. Sebastian Beggel, researchers at the Chair of Aquatic Systems Biology and the Unit of Molecular Zoology (Chair of Zoology) at TUM investigated the influence of a wide range of environmental factors on eDNA analysis in an experiment. The idea for the experiment was based on a previous eDNA study on a native mussel species.

Read more at Technical University of Munich

Photo: Environmental DNA analysis makes it possible to detect aquatic organisms without having to catch them: Bernhard Stoeckle (right) fetches a water bottle with liquid from a stream. On the left next to him Sebastian Beggel, while Prof. Jürgen Geist is waiting for the rehearsals.

(CREDIT: A. Heddergott / TUM)