Guiding best practice with a synthesis of 10 years of environmental DNA science

April 28th, 2023

Aquatic eDNA analysis starts with sampling water.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is becoming an increasingly popular tool for monitoring biodiversity and detecting pests and endangered species due to its time efficiency, sensitivity, and because it can be safer than more hands-on monitoring.

There is a widely recognised need to standardise or adopt comparable eDNA methods globally. But first, we need to know the methods actually in use and pros and cons of those methods.

To that end, we co-authored a systematic literature review, led by colleagues at Curtin University, of aquatic eDNA procedures, including experimental design, methods of sampling, and laboratory stages of the eDNA workflow. The review showed a rapid increase in the number of publications in the past decade, and despite eDNA maturing as a science, a continued diversification of methods.

We concluded that these patterns reflect an overwhelming interest in and opportunity for eDNA to contribute to environmental measurement. The review also identified aspects of eDNA workflows where a focus on establishing best practices will enhance the credibility and adoption of this technology.

You can read more details on this research in the recently published study, Aquatic environmental DNA: A review of the macro-organismal biomonitoring revolution.