Deng, J., Zhang, H., Wang, Q. et al. 2023. An optimized environmental DNA method to improve detectability of the endangered Sichuan taimen (Hucho bleekeri). Fishes 8(7), 339.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques have emerged as a cost-effective and non-invasive strategy for monitoring the distribution of endangered aquatic species. Despite their numerous advantages, operational uncertainty at each step of the process represents a significant challenge that can impact the reliability of results. Hence, the optimization of the eDNA analytic protocol is of utmost importance. In this study, the rare and endangered fish species Sichuan taimen was chosen as the target species to evaluate the concordance between different approaches (tissue, pond, and field water samples) for eDNA detection. The results showed that membrane filtration, collection of a 2-L water sample, and utilization of the DNeasy Tissue and Blood DNA extraction kit were suitable for the analysis of DNA in water samples. Furthermore, the mtDNA D-loop region demonstrated potential as a specific molecular marker for the precise identification of Sichuan taimen. Our results indicated that TaqMan fluorescence PCR can serve as the optimal detection method for reliable identification of target DNA even at extremely low concentrations in the field. This study established an optimized eDNA analysis protocol for Sichuan taimen detection, which will provide the basis for future resource investigations aimed at protection of this endangered aquatic species.

Animal Type