Every cell of an organism contains genetic material in the form of DNA. Organisms that live or temporarily reside in an aquatic environment leave biological material containing DNA in this environment. This biological material can consist of e.g. dander, mucus, feces with intestinal epithelial cells or individual cells. In aquatic environments, this biological material is relatively easily distributed. The DNA isolated from this biological material is called eDNA and is a good reflection of the species composition in a given environment.
eDNA technology offers the possibility to detect organisms in water without having to observe or catch them visually. eDNA gives advantages to traditional methods as it is is a less labor-intensive than the traditional methods and doesn’t disturb the ecosystem. Sylphium molecular ecology offers a wide range of eDNA tests. In the near future, new tests will be added to this list. Sylphium gives also advise how to setup an experiment to solve environmental questions. (See consultancy)
For an eDNA analysis, the following steps will be performed:
Water, feces and soil can be sampled to determine the species composition. Sylphium molecular ecology has developed sample sets for different kind of samples . After sampling, the samples are preserved in a special buffer (containing an internal control) and can be stored at room temperature. See section sampling for more information.
- eDNA extraction from sample (specialised lab)
Clean eDNA is required for reliable eDNA tests. Sylphium molecular ecology has developed eDNA extraction kits. The extraction must be performed on a specialised lab or it can be done by Sylphium. See section sampling for more information.
- Determination of DNA from target organism (on specialised lab)
A wide range of different ecological tests based on eDNA are offered by Sylphium molecular ecology as a kit or as a service. See here the complete list. All tests have been validated with strict rules set by Sylphium molecular ecology to be certain that the test does what it “says” to do.