Thursday, April 11, 2024

Paw-prints and Genetic Clues


    In January of this year, a new research article was published about taking samples from the tracks of animals to study them. More specifically, in this case, it is the bobcat. These big cats are hard to observe since they are not commonly seen during the daytime, especially out in the open where it would be the easiest to observe them. The study presented shows that it is possible to collect viable DNA just from the tracks these hard-to-observe animals leave. This DNA was able to provide information about the animal's ancestry as well as the animal's unique microbial communities. They are calling this environmental DNA or eDNA when collected. 

    This is a huge break in the ways of observing animals, especially those who are not easily observable in the daytime and not often in open areas. This allows researchers to collect data from an animal without causing any interference and also very safely. Collecting eDNA is something important for collecting continuous information on more uncommon animals, even the rare ones! Having this option allows for an easy collection and much less stress for everyone involved. This will change the future of data collection for uncommon animals.

                                        Bobcat - City of Arlington


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  1. I've never heard of the term eDNA or environmental DNA so I find it quite fascinating how information can be found on a specific animal just by analyzing their surrounding environment. I look forward to learning more about other animals we may not know of or a lot about due to them not being commonly observed.

  2. I find it so cool how they are able to get information about an animal from just its environment. I think it is a huge step because it does allow the animal to keep doing what its doing and not be disturbed. The eDNA is going to be so helpful when getting more information on rare animals or even hard to get animals. It's super exciting!

  3. Hey Kaleigh,
    This is really cool and I had no idea about eDNA. It's kind of similar to how humans leave behind fingerprints and were able to trace them back to someone's identity. I think this research is a great start to investigating endangered or hard to find species. This can help us understand conservation practices for species on the IUCN Red List and can overall prevent extinction. So exciting!