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DNA from air may help identify, track animals in the wild: Studies

  • Posted By
    10Pointer
  • Categories
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    11th Jan, 2022

Context

DNA floating in the air can boost biodiversity conservation efforts across the world, two independent studies found. 

  • Researchers from two teams have independently shown that environmental DNA (e-DNA) can potentially identify and monitor terrestrial animals.

What is DNA?

  • DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms.
  •  Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA.
  • Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria (where it is called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA).

What about animal’s DNA?

  • Animals shed DNA through their breath, saliva, fur or faeces into the environment.
  • These samples are called e-DNA.
  • The study indicated a big potential of airborne eDNA to be used for conservation of terrestrial vertebrates.
  • This method will work with the current techniques to monitor endangered species after some fine-tuning.