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A hard look at sampling aquatic environments for DNA fragments.

edna sample

A hard look at sampling aquatic environments for DNA fragments.

Research NAA

Friday at the Lab

The National Aquaculture Association recently published an article in the World Aquaculture Society magazine discussing the sampling aquatic environments for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as a method to locate animals and plants. The article entitled, A Hard Look at Environmental DNA, is posted here.


Living organisms constantly shed whole or fragmented DNA, in waste and reproductive products, in mucus, by touch, and even through the air. This ‘loose’ DNA is called environmental DNA (eDNA). Sampling aquatic environments for eDNA has gained considerable traction and focus as the costs of DNA analysis have decreased, scientists have increasingly used it for species identification and location, biomonitoring, disease pathogen detection, and for identifying aquatic species community assemblages. Many publications by research scientists now call for natural resource managers to embrace and adopt eDNA tools to supplement or replace traditional aquatic animal monitoring methods.

There is no doubt that eDNA is a phenomenal advancement in science with incredible potential. At the same time, the US aquaculture community should fully understand the benefits, limitations and permissions samplers should acquire as 1) there are considerable uncertainties associated with eDNA sampling and interpretation, and 2) human DNA is inadvertently captured during sampling.

If you have questions or comments, please contact Paul Zajicek (

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