Nuclear or mitochondrial DNA that is released into the environment from an organism is known as environmental DNA or eDNA. The eDNA of a large number of aquatic organisms can be detected in water samples by qPCR, even when at very low concentrations. This technique is particularly useful when trying to locate rare species that are challenging to observe using conventional methods. The rapid diffusion of eDNA from its initial site enables the presence of a species to be detected anywhere within that body of water. Another useful quality of eDNA is its speed of degradation. This means that species will only be detected if they have been present in that environment recently, perfect for this purpose.

The Tular Cave Laboratory have developed a set of eDNA qPCR detection assays to examine the presence of an Amphibian species called Proteus anguinus. Both SYBR and TaqMan assays were developed with great success and have now led to the identification of several new Proteus habitats.

To read the full article in Nature, click the link here.