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Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) of environmental DNA is an important tool for understanding species evolution, ecosystem dynamics and ecological biodiversity. DNA barcoding is another significant application of NGS in environmental research, producing massive amounts of data for the analysis of the thousands of specimens present in environmental bulk samples and the identification of different species and taxa present in the habitat or ecosystem. This information can provide clues to the health of the environment by analysing its biodiversity, the diet of individuals presents if faeces samples are taken, and the impact of the soil and water microbiome on the health of the system. The high throughput nature of NGS technologies is what makes them suitable for analysing bulk samples, avoiding the need for human interference or extraction of individual samples.

Genomics Application in Environment

  • Researchers can use NGS technologies to identify invasive or harmful species and apply this to conservation efforts for endemic species.
  • Population genetics can be used in an environmental context to identify individuals with resistance to certain pathogens, understand the underlying genetic mechanisms of the resistance and select for it in conservation breeding programmes.
  • Metagenomic analysis of water samples is important for quality and safety monitoring.

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