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Environmental DNA: An Emerging Tool in Ecological Assessment

Abstract

Environmental DNA (eDNA), as a recent research hotspot in environmental science, the use of eDNA in biological monitoring has the advantages of sensitivity and time/labor saving. The eDNA technology combined with scientific advancement has been applied in investigations of target species (such as invasive species, endangered species and other rare species), biomass, and biodiversity. In addition, ecotoxicology studies and environmental pollution impact assessments based on the development of eDNA technology have gradually emerged in recent years. In this article, we summarizes the application of eDNA in ecological assessment, include species diversity assessment and chemical contamination impacts assessment, provide guiding questions for study design. We additionally discuss current challenges associated with eDNA. Finally, looking to the future, we discuss the opportunities of eDNA technology in environmental protein, environmental sample processor and ecogenomic sensors.

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Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for Central Public Welfare Scientific Research Institutes of China (Grant No. 2019YSKY-007) & the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (Grant No. 2017ZX07301002-01).

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Correspondence to Zhenguang Yan.

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Wang, P., Yan, Z., Yang, S. et al. Environmental DNA: An Emerging Tool in Ecological Assessment. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 103, 651–656 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-019-02720-z

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Keywords

  • Environmental DNA
  • Ecological assessment
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Biodiversity