DNA Would Help To Count All Freshwater Species

21.12.2011

New method of freshwater censusDutch freshwater biologists suggested a new method of registration of freshwater species based on a lab analysis. No more costly expeditions, no slow and careful research: freshwater census could be performed simply after testing a small amount of water.

To register all the wildlife which inhabits a certain zone – including their description and number of individuals – biologists would have to track and study their DNA traces. The more there are individuals of a species, the more saturated with their DNA traces the water is. This information is more than enough to fulfill a detailed register of species.

Philip Francis Thomsen and his colleagues from University of Copenhagen have proven the success of this method by studying freshwater species of a hundred lakes and rivers in Europe. After comparing the results of DNA monitoring and previous studies the experts concluded that the new method provides biologists with more precise information.

However, there is one flaw in this practically perfect way of studies: the DNA monitoring method works only in fresh water. Sea water would dissolve all the traces.