Saturday, April 13, 2019

DNA Amplification Used for Conservation

There is an expansive range of wildlife conservation methods around the world, with specific techniques employed in different habitats. Sometimes the methods used depends on the target species. However, when the animal is elusive or increasingly hard to find due to overexploited populations, scientists find themselves innovating even more techniques to monitor threatened and endangered species. This can be seen through the new method of amplifying DNA from degraded or contaminated genetic samples. Researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research lead a study which acquired small amounts of such DNA from unconventional sources. The scientists were able to successfully amplify tiny amounts of DNA from tiger feces, as well as the whiskers and saliva found on their prey. Other instances of such methods being used are more and more prevalent. One example of this was when the location of an endangered eel species was identified with just one liter of water from different areas from a Japanese river. By utilizing the DNA left behind by these animals in their surroundings, conservationists can glean valuable information such as their location, the population's genetic diversity- thereby leading to more effective management initiatives. 

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