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How eDNA Could be a Cornerstone of the New Blue Economy


By Jesse H. Ausubel and Alan Curry 03-01-2021 03:21:00 File image A bio-based industry likely to boom soon uses loose DNA in seawater, or environmental DNA, to measure presence and abundance of marine species. Animals in water inevitably shed their eDNA into it.

Surveyors have traditionally monitored sea life by observing seafood markets and trawl nets, diving with goggles, and more recently deploying cameras and sonars.

From microbes to mammals, near shore to mid-ocean, and seafloor to seabirds, humans want and need to know about ocean life. Obvious benefits have derived from more accurate means of locating high-value wild fish for food or for protection in the interests of recreation and conservation. Fishers and dive shop operators may use the same information for opposite purposes.

Blue life has other uses. Fish meal and oil provide feed for other forms of animal life, including carnivorous fishes raised in farms. For thousands of years bones and shells, famously of turtles, became buttons, combs, and other household products. Live animals enter the aquarium trade. Cod liver oil promised good health before the word nutraceutical became popular, and other parts and forms of marine life, including algae, become pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Accurate information about the diversity and […]

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