The extinct frog was alive. Environmentalists found her DNA in the environment

During the study, scientists collected and tested environmental DNA - eDNA - in biodiversity of coastal

the forests of the Atlantic and the meadows of Cerrado in Brazil.

The eDNA method offers a survey method,which can confirm the presence of species not detected by traditional methods, is helping environmental scientists re-evaluate the presence of species in the environment that are endangered or have not been observed for years.

After careful research to identifyspecies at varying levels of threat in these regions of Brazil, researchers used eDNA to find 30 target amphibian species in six locations where frogs are known to have previously lived.

Megaelosia bocainensis - andan extinct species from the Serra da Bocaina National Park, Brazil, previously known only from this museum specimen collected in 1968

“Small pieces of DNA in the environment are nottell us how many individuals exist and whether they are healthy, but they tell us that the species is still present, ”explains senior study author Kelly Zamudio, Professor Goldwin Smith. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the College of Arts and Sciences.

Living organisms leave traces of DNA in soil, water and air. Scientists are now increasingly using highly sensitive sampling techniques to detect eDNA in order to conserve endangered species.

The researchers took water samples. Back in the lab, they extracted the DNA, genetically sequenced it, and weeded out genetic material from humans, pigs, chickens, and other organisms until they could isolate all of the frog's DNA.

Revealing M. bocainensis took a lot of work: the species disappeared a long time ago, and there was no tissue from which DNA could be extracted for comparison with eDNA. But the researchers had sequences for all sister species of the genus Megaelosia, and they knew the ranges of its related species.

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