Methodology of fish eDNA and its applications in ecology and environment

Shuping Wang, Zhenguang Yan, Bernd Hänfling, Xin Zheng, Pengyuan Wang, Juntao Fan, Jianlong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


Fish environmental DNA (eDNA) studies have made substantial progress during the past decade, and significant advances in monitoring fishes have been gained by taking advantage of this technology. Although a number of reviews concerning eDNA are available and some recent fish eDNA reviews focused on fisheries or standard method have been published, a systematic review of methodology of fish eDNA and its applications in ecology and environment has not yet been published. To our knowledge, this is the first review of fish eDNA for solving ecological and environmental issues. First, the most comprehensive literature analysis of fish eDNA was presented and analyzed. Then, we systematically discuss the relevant experiments and analyses of fish eDNA, and infers that standard workflow is on the way to consensus. We additionally provide reference sequence databases and the primers used to amplify the reference sequences or detecting fish eDNA. The abiotic and biotic conditions affecting fish eDNA persistence are also summarized in a schematic diagram. Subsequently, we focus on the major achievements of fish eDNA in ecology and environment. We additionally highlight the exciting new tools, including in situ autonomous monitoring devices, CRISPR nucleic acid detection technology, and meta-omics technology for fish eDNA detection in future. Ultimately, methodology of fish eDNA will provide a wholly new paradigm for conservation actions of fishes, ecological and environmental management at a global scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number142622
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2021


  • Ecology
  • eDNA
  • Environment
  • Fish
  • Methodology


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