May , 2024, Volume : 5 Article : 6

Utilizing Environmental DNA/RNA for Pathogen Detection & Ecology

Author : Aditya Pratap Singh and Sarmistha Gouda



Environmental DNA/RNA (eNA) methodologies have emerged as powerful tools for detecting pathogens, monitoring disease dynamics, and studying ecological interactions. This review highlights the utility of eNA in pathogen detection and surveillance, emphasizing its ability to detect diverse microorganisms non-invasively and with high sensitivity. By tracking changes in genetic material over time and space, researchers can gain insights into transmission dynamics, disease emergence, and ecological relationships. The concept of the "pathogen eNA continuum" provides a framework for understanding the interplay between environmental detection and host infections, guiding strategies for disease prevention and control. Additionally, the exploration of pathogen environmental RNA (eRNA) offers real-time insights into active infections, complementing traditional eDNA approaches. Incorporating eNA data into predictive models enables the forecasting of pathogen distribution and ecological impacts, aiding in disease management and conservation efforts. However, challenges such as distinguishing pathogen RNA from contaminants and quantifying gene expression levels must be addressed. Overcoming these challenges requires standardized protocols, interdisciplinary collaborations, and advancements in technology. Despite these hurdles, the continued exploration and utilization of eNA hold promise for advancing our understanding of pathogen ecology and enhancing public health and conservation initiatives.

Keywords: Disease ecology; Environmental DNA; Pathogen detection; RNA analysis; Surveillance

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