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Sponges as natural environmental DNA samplers

Mariani, S, Baillie, C, Colosimo, G and Riesgo, A (2019) Sponges as natural environmental DNA samplers. Current Biology, 29 (11). R401-R402. ISSN 0960-9822

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At a time of unprecedented impacts on marine biodiversity, scientists are rapidly becoming persuaded by the potential of screening large swathes of the oceans through the retrieval, amplification and sequencing of trace DNA fragments left behind by marine organisms; an approach known as ‘environmental DNA’ (eDNA) [1]. In trying to circumvent the many challenges associated with water filtration and DNA isolation from environmental samples, significant investment is being made in high-tech solutions, such as automated underwater vehicles and robots [2]. Here, instead, we explored a simpler, alternative option, based on the recovery of eDNA from sponges (phylum Porifera), the planet’s most effective water-filterers. We obtained sponge samples from Mediterranean and Antarctic surveys, extracted total DNA from their tissues, and obtained tens of thousands of fish DNA reads via metabarcoding, which were able to clearly distinguish samples from the two regions. One Antarctic sample yielded hundreds of reads from chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) and Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii). We argue that this ‘natural sampler DNA’ (nsDNA) approach is poised to become a powerful, affordable, universal tool for aquatic biodiversity monitoring globally.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 06 Biological Sciences, 11 Medical and Health Sciences, 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2019 09:58
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 09:03
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.04.031
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11143
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