Environmental DNA: An Emerging Tool in Ecological Assessment

  • Pengyuan Wang
  • Zhenguang YanEmail author
  • Suwen Yang
  • Shuping Wang
  • Xin Zheng
  • Juntao Fan
  • Tianxu Zhang
Focused Review


Environmental DNA (eDNA), as a recent research hotspot in environmental science, the use of eDNA in biological monitoring has the advantages of sensitivity and time/labor saving. The eDNA technology combined with scientific advancement has been applied in investigations of target species (such as invasive species, endangered species and other rare species), biomass, and biodiversity. In addition, ecotoxicology studies and environmental pollution impact assessments based on the development of eDNA technology have gradually emerged in recent years. In this article, we summarizes the application of eDNA in ecological assessment, include species diversity assessment and chemical contamination impacts assessment, provide guiding questions for study design. We additionally discuss current challenges associated with eDNA. Finally, looking to the future, we discuss the opportunities of eDNA technology in environmental protein, environmental sample processor and ecogenomic sensors.


Environmental DNA Ecological assessment Ecotoxicology Biodiversity 



This work was financially supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for Central Public Welfare Scientific Research Institutes of China (Grant No. 2019YSKY-007) & the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (Grant No. 2017ZX07301002-01).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pengyuan Wang
    • 1
  • Zhenguang Yan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Suwen Yang
    • 2
  • Shuping Wang
    • 1
  • Xin Zheng
    • 1
  • Juntao Fan
    • 1
  • Tianxu Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk AssessmentChinese Research Academy of Environmental SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.National Engineering Laboratory for Lake Pollution Control and Ecological RestorationChinese Research Academy of Environmental SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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