The eDNA technique can also be used to generate a complete list of species from a water sample for a specific group of species. For example, we can establish which fish or amphibian species occur in a water body. Universal primers are used to amplify all the DNA of one group in the water sample using PCR. With next generation sequencing (NGS), all amplified pieces of DNA are encoded and stored in a large data file. Those DNA codes are then compared to the DNA codes in our reference database. For each piece of DNA, the computer calculates from which species it originates, thereby generating a list of species.
In the future, we hope it will be possible to estimate a species density in a water body using the environmental DNA approach (see Research).
For more information about using environmental DNA in a multi-specific approach, click here.