New DNA assembly method to help wildlife conservation

In a recent study, wildlife conservationists have come up with an effective method to obtain DNA samples of endangered species. Various animal types have died out and several others are vanishing rapidly. Studies have revealed, DNA samples are an important reference source for their recovery. The genetic clues provide information about inbreeding and population of the race, along with the species’ natural selection, illegal trade, wildlife threats, and habitat destruction.

Currents methods to obtain gene samples of high-extinction risk animal species is slow, cumbersome and expensive. Present techniques use specialized equipment and inefficient strategies for extracting DNA samples. Researchers at Stanford University and the National Centre for Biological Sciences at India’s Tata Institute of Fundamental Research have been working on a system to produce genetic clues quickly and through low-cost means. During their current research on Tiger and Conch, the team experimented with left-behind materials of species, such as saliva droppings, hair, feces, skin, etc. The usage of sequencing method across many samples of DNA in the same test tubes, increased the possibility of reading small bits of DNA, and also kept the amount of DNA needed to a minimum.

The new method has proven to be inexpensive, effective, and is bound to produce faster results, keeping the implementation cost as low as $5 per sample. It also marked an advancement in conservation and population monitoring.