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Collect DNA from your favorite lake

Collect DNA from your favorite lake

This is the name given to traces of DNA that can be found almost everywhere in the environment – water, soil, ice or air. eDNA, by its moniker, has over the past 10 years enabled it to do just that Reveal existence Invasive species in areas not yet observed Served during COVID to Measure the presence of the virus In some cities, from samples collected in wastewater.

However, the international program is simply called “Lake of DNA” or “LeDNA”. » Takes environmental DNA collection to the next level: Hundreds of lakes around the world will see enthusiasts collecting water or soil samples with the aim of better measuring biodiversity – or its decline – in these environments.

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“By engaging citizens, we not only increase the geographic scope of our sample, but also create a sense of public belonging and awareness of biodiversity issues.” Comment in the review nature Project coordinator, Katia Lucio Pereira, from the Swiss Institute of Technology.

It must be remembered that what is also called participatory science is not limited to data collection, but can consist of involving groups, or even patients, in developing research priorities.

In this case, LeDNA promoters note, the advantage is that collecting a soil or water sample is easy to standardize – in other words, the protocol to be followed is less complicated than when it is necessary to precisely indicate when and where a bird was sighted. .

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However, the possibility of collecting environmental DNA comes with a drawback: collecting a sample from a particular location could “pick up” DNA from a fish that has only passed there, but does not live there.

Each “recruit” will be assigned a lake near their home from a list of 5,000 people around the world. His mission will be to collect his samples over a period of about two weeks on May 22 — World Biodiversity Day.