E-DNA (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     6th November 2023        
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Context: Recently, researchers at the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, specifically from the Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES), introduced a novel eDNA sequencing method for assessing biodiversity.

Environmental DNA

  • eDNA consists of DNA released by organisms through natural processes during their lifetime or after death.
  • This DNA originates from cellular material that organisms shed, such as through their skin or excrement, into aquatic or terrestrial environments.
  • Modern molecular methods enable the sampling and monitoring of this eDNA in these environments.

Key Points

  • The new non-invasive method can assess the total biodiversity of any ecosystem by sequencing the DNA fragments found in environmental samples such as water, soil, or air.
  • This method can detect all kinds of organisms, including viruses, bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes such as fungi, plants, insects, birds, fish and other animals.
  • In this method scientists can filter out eDNA from environmental samples, read their sequences, and thus, identify the source of the eDNA.


  • Enable early detection of invasive species and the identification of rare and cryptic species.
  • Detect the presence of human remains through eDNA analysis.