Zurich Zoo: Private drone collects environmental DNA from trees

Zurich Zoo: Private drone collects environmental DNA from trees

The environmental DNA is meant to stay to the white sticky strips of the drone for later evaluation within the lab. sda-ats

This content material was printed on 19 January 2023 – 14:18.


Researchers from ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Forest Analysis Institute (WSL) have developed a drone that may land on tree branches in Zurich Zoo’s Masoala pavilion to take DNA samples from its environment.

“We’ve the benefit of figuring out which species exist right here, which is able to assist us higher assess how correct we’re at selecting up traces of eDNA (or environmental DNA) with this system or if we missed one thing,” mentioned Professor Stefano Mintchev. The robotic surroundings in ETH and WSL is talked about in at present’s word.

“Descent into branches requires complicated management,” mentioned Mintchev, co-author of a examine not too long ago printed within the journal Science Robotics on the topic.

Initially, the drone would not know the way versatile a department is, so the researchers connected a tool that would detect the drive utilized to it. The drone measures this issue and takes it under consideration for its maneuver.

DNA traces keep on with drone

The customized drone can be outfitted with adhesive strips. DNA traces stick to those strips when the aircraft lands on a department. Researchers can then extract the DNA within the lab, analyze it and assign it to genetic matches of varied organisms utilizing comparative information present in scientific databases.

The researchers examined their new gadget on seven tree species. They discovered DNA from 21 totally different teams of organisms, or taxa, within the samples, together with birds, mammals, and bugs. “That is encouraging as a result of it exhibits that the harvesting method is working,” mentioned Mintchev.

The researchers now need to additional refine their drone to arrange it for a contest whose aim is to find as many alternative species as doable inside 24 hours in Singapore’s 100-hectare rainforest.

Mintchev and his staff are presently working at Zurich zoo’s Masoala pavilion to check the drone’s effectiveness in situations just like these it might encounter in competitors. The title in Madagascar is reproduced, additionally talked about within the press launch.

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