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Environmental DNA Standardization Needs for Fish and Wildlife Population Assessments and Monitoring

Effective management of natural resources requires accurate and timely information regarding the occurrence and distribution of “at risk” and invasive species, information about ecosystem health, data on wildlife population trends, and assessment of ecosystem responses to environmental perturbation. Environmental DNA (eDNA) methods can dramatically increase detection rates compared to conventional methods, particularly for species that occur in low densities, have secretive ecologies, feature discontinuous distributions, or share morphological traits that confound accurate identification.

This research paper broadly reviews the status of eDNA techniques currently used for sample collection and handling, eDNA extraction, and current analytical DNA detection methods, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and high throughput or next generation sequencing-based approaches.

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