Middle East

Wildlife species can be monitored with aerial DNA – research

Previously used for aquatic life, environmental DNA (eDNA) has been used by two unique groups of scientists at local zoos to sample trace amounts of terrestrial animal air with great success.

Great hearts think the same way. In Denmark and the United Kingdom, two independent groups of researchers study the environmental DNA (eDNA) of zoo animals collected from the air as a non-invasive way to determine which species live in a particular area. Did.

The two groups came across each other’s work on the preprint server and decided to work together to publish at the same time.Their findings were reported in Current biology In the same January 2022 issue,Aerial environmental DNA for terrestrial vertebrate community monitoring‘, And others,’Measuring biodiversity from DNA in the air‘.

“By obtaining aerial environmental DNA from vertebrates, we can detect even animals that are invisible there.” To tell Kristine Bohmann, a researcher and team leader at the University of Copenhagen.

According to the news release, terrestrial animals can be monitored in a variety of ways, including camera traps, environmental analysis of footprints and feces, and face-to-face observations. However, these methods “may involve intensive fieldwork and require the physical presence of the animal.”

However, eDNA is more accurate because it traps the DNA of many animals, extracts them in the lab, performs the sequence, and can identify the animals that are present, even if they cannot be observed directly.

“Early in my career, I went to Madagascar to see a lot of lemurs. But in reality, I rarely saw them. Instead, I almost went through the canopy. I just heard him fly away, “says Bowman. “Therefore, for many species, detecting them by direct observation can be a lot of work, especially if they live in elusive, highly closed or inaccessible habitats. . “

“Monitoring airborne DNA compared to what people find in rivers and lakes is really very difficult because the DNA appears to be very diluted in the air,” said Queen Mary of London. He is a senior researcher on the Mary University team and is currently at York University in Toronto. “But our zoo research hasn’t failed yet with different samplers, genes, locations, and experimental approaches. Everything went well and surprisingly well.”

Two independent groups of researchers based in Denmark, the United Kingdom and Canada sought to determine if aerial eDNA could be used to detect terrestrial species. They collected atmospheric samples from two European zoos, the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark and the Hamerton Zoo in the United Kingdom.

The method of extracting eDNA is commonly used for aquatic organisms, but researchers wanted to see if it would work for terrestrial animals.

“Because the air surrounds everything, we wanted to optimize the true detection of animal DNA while avoiding sample contamination,” says Bohmann. “The latest work on aerial eDNA includes the work you normally do when processing eDNA samples and is a bit tweaked.”

Each research group went to a local zoo and collected samples containing “inside a walled enclosure, such as a tropical house or indoor stable, and an outdoor outdoor enclosure.”

“To collect the eDNA in the air, I used a fan like the one used to cool a computer, attached a filter to it, and then let it run for a while,” said Principal Author and Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Copenhagen. Christina Lynggaard says.

Fans take in air from the zoo and its surroundings. This air may contain genetic material from “something that can float in the air and is small enough to stay in the air.” “After air filtration, we extracted the DNA from the filter and used PCR amplification to make large copies of the animal’s DNA. After the DNA sequence, we processed millions of sequences and finally DNAed them. We have identified the animal species by comparison with the reference database. “

The result was amazing. “Analysis of the collected samples revealed that the DNA of 25 animal species was significantly reduced from 17 species of animals known to the zoo, including tigers, lemurs, and dingos. EDNA could be collected from animals hundreds of meters away from the site under test, and even from outside the enclosed building. The animals were inside, but their DNA escaped. Was. ” To tell Claire.

“I was surprised to see the results,” Bowman says. “In just 40 samples, 49 species spanning mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish were detected. In the rainforest house, ponds, linnaeus’s beetles, and even boa guppy were detected. Only one outdoor. When we sampled the air at the site, we found many of the animals that had access to the outdoor enclosures in that part of the zoo, such as care, reptiles, and rhinoceros. “

Researchers chose the zoo because of the uniqueness of the collection of animals contained therein and the ability to prevent pollution. “We were originally thinking of going to the farm, but if we were to get the cow’s DNA, we would say,’Is the cow here, 100 miles away, or someone’s lunch? You have to ask, “Claire says. “But by using the zoo as a model, there is no other way to detect DNA from tigers, except for zoo tigers. You can actually test the detection rate.”

Scientists have detected the species not only in the zoo but also in the surrounding area. “We identified food from the air sampled in the enclosure and detected a group of native species, such as the endangered Eurasian hedgehog in the UK,” the UK team wrote. .. “Of these 49 species [detected by eDNA sampling], Five species were wild or domestic non-zoo species known to occur in or around the zoo (eg, Eurasian red squirrels and water voles), “the Danish team reports.

The two teams also detected DNA in the food of zoo animals such as chickens, cows, horses and fish. The ability of eDNA sampling to pick up a wide range of species means that this process can be used to detect and monitor wild terrestrial species. By using eDNA sampling, scientists can enhance their global conservation efforts.

“This approach is non-invasive, so it is especially valuable for observing vulnerable and endangered species, as well as species in hard-to-reach environments such as caves and burrows. Literally thin air to DNA. If you can pick up traces of, you don’t have to see them to know they’re in the area, “Claire says. “Air sampling could revolutionize terrestrial life monitoring and provide new opportunities to track the composition of animal communities and detect the invasion of alien species.”

Source: TRT World and distributors

https://www.trtworld.com/life/wild-animal-species-can-be-monitored-with-airborne-dna-studies-53405?utm_source=other&utm_medium=rss Wildlife species can be monitored with aerial DNA – research

Back to top button