The WWF 2016 Living Planet report described biodiversity losses of 81% for global populations of freshwater organisms between 1970 and 2012, based on data from 3324 monitored populations from around the globe. The detection of environmental DNA (eDNA) has the potential to revolutionize biomonitoring.
Animals leave behind traces of eDNA in the environment as they pass through habitats, or interact with other organisms. Researchers can collect water, soil or other substrates, filter out the DNA and sequence it with the latest powerful DNA sequencing technologies to identify species. The sequences are then matched against reference libraries of DNA to assign species identities.
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