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Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project aims to use environmental DNA sampling to put together a picture of the biodiversity of rivers across the world, according to the Guardian.

It adds that the $15 million eBioAtlas program, a partnership between the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the eDNA company NatureMetrics, plans to collect samples from freshwater sites like the Ganges River and the Niger River delta to better understand what animals live around the rivers. Similar smaller-scale efforts, the Guardian says, have helped in the conservation of the great crested newt and given better insight into the habitat of pink river dolphins and manatees of the Amazon.

With this project, the researchers plan to collect 30,000 waters samples for eDNA analysis. "Our aim is to do a global eDNA blitz if we get sufficient funding," Will Darwall, head of IUCN's freshwater biodiversity unit, tells the Guardian. "We can't just do little bits here and there. I think this is a real game-changer because identification can be so much faster."

The Guardian notes, though, that identification is limited by what is in the reference library the samples are compared to.

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