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Environmental DNA as an emerging tool in botanical research

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Darren Evans



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Authors. American Journal of Botany published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Botanical Society of America. Over the past quarter century, environmental DNA (eDNA) has been ascendant as a tool to detect, measure, and monitor biodiversity (species and communities), as a means of elucidating biological interaction networks, and as a window into understanding past patterns of biodiversity. However, only recently has the potential of eDNA been realized in the botanical world. Here we synthesize the state of eDNA applications in botanical systems with emphases on aquatic, ancient, contemporary sediment, and airborne systems, and focusing on both single-species approaches and multispecies community metabarcoding. Further, we describe how abiotic and biotic factors, taxonomic resolution, primer choice, spatiotemporal scales, and relative abundance influence the utilization and interpretation of airborne eDNA results. Lastly, we explore several areas and opportunities for further development of eDNA tools for plants, advancing our knowledge and understanding of the efficacy, utility, and cost-effectiveness, and ultimately facilitating increased adoption of eDNA analyses in botanical systems.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Johnson MD, Freeland JR, Parducci L, Evans DM, Meyer RS, Molano-Flores B, Davis MA

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Botany

Year: 2023

Volume: 110

Issue: 2

Online publication date: 11/01/2023

Acceptance date: 05/12/2022

ISSN (print): 0002-9122

ISSN (electronic): 1537-2197

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc


DOI: 10.1002/ajb2.16120