Invertebrate traps and DNA – literature review (NECR423)

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DNA – based methods offer a significant opportunity to change how we monitor and assess biodiversity. However, for most techniques, there is still much development required before they can be used in routine monitoring. Natural England has been exploring the further use of these methods for environmental monitoring for several years, delivering a series of reports which focus on the development of DNA-based methods with potential in a particular area.
Proof of concept studies have demonstrated that DNA has the ability to change the way some of our terrestrial invertebrate monitoring is carried out.
This project undertook a targeted literature review to investigate methods for terrestrial invertebrate sampling for use with DNA analysis techniques. The review included studies that had been subject to peer review along with grey literature and personal communications from individuals within organisations known to carry out terrestrial invertebrate sampling.
The findings of the review indicate that propylene glycol may better preserve DNA for downstream applications than ethanol despite general consensus that 100% ethanol is the best preservative, although this statement is made with caution as the sample number was small. In general, there was considerable variation between methods at every stage in the process and information which could have been useful for example biotic and abiotic factors was most often not included.
Options for practical method testing are also given with a view to the standardisation of trapping methods to allow field guidance to be produced with recommended techniques, preservatives and length of time in traps.

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