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Beyond Biodiversity: Can Environmental DNA (eDNA) Cut It as a Population Genetics Tool?

1
Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, 270 Great King Street, Dunedin, Otago 9016, New Zealand
2
Trace and Environmental DNA (TrEnD) Laboratory, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University, Bentley, Perth, WA 6102, Australia
3
Department of Marine Science, University of Otago, 310 Castle Street, Dunedin, Otago 9016, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2019, 10(3), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10030192
Received: 29 January 2019 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 26 February 2019 / Published: 1 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Genetics and Genomics)
Population genetic data underpin many studies of behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary processes in wild populations and contribute to effective conservation management. However, collecting genetic samples can be challenging when working with endangered, invasive, or cryptic species. Environmental DNA (eDNA) offers a way to sample genetic material non-invasively without requiring visual observation. While eDNA has been trialed extensively as a biodiversity and biosecurity monitoring tool with a strong taxonomic focus, it has yet to be fully explored as a means for obtaining population genetic information. Here, we review current research that employs eDNA approaches for the study of populations. We outline challenges facing eDNA-based population genetic methodologies, and suggest avenues of research for future developments. We advocate that with further optimizations, this emergent field holds great potential as part of the population genetics toolkit. View Full-Text
Keywords: sampling methodology; mtDNA; mitochondrial DNA; conservation; biodiversity; populations; genetics; eDNA sampling methodology; mtDNA; mitochondrial DNA; conservation; biodiversity; populations; genetics; eDNA
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Adams, C.I.; Knapp, M.; Gemmell, N.J.; Jeunen, G.-J.; Bunce, M.; Lamare, M.D.; Taylor, H.R. Beyond Biodiversity: Can Environmental DNA (eDNA) Cut It as a Population Genetics Tool? Genes 2019, 10, 192.

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