A DNA sequencing flow cell is used to read millions of pieces of DNA obtained from seawater.

(November 4, 2020 – St. John’s, NL) – The results of a collaborative study with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) in the deep ocean off the coast of Labrador are a sound demonstration of the power of eDNAtec’s technology.

St. John’s-based eDNAtec specializes in environmental genomics and is revolutionizing how to assess, monitor, and characterize the ocean through the reading of “environmental DNA” (eDNA; the DNA shed into the ocean by the thousands of organisms that live there) to support ocean industries such as oil and gas and fisheries. In 2018, the DFO partnered with eDNAtec’s Centre for Environmental Genomics Applications and Memorial University’s Marine Institute to enhance its first-ever deep ocean biodiversity research program in the Labrador Sea.  The ‘ISE-COLD’ (Integrated Studies and Ecosystem Characterization of the Labrador Sea Deep Ocean) program is designed to explore the Labrador Sea deep ocean ecosystem to understand the diversity of fishery resources and the impact of climate change. Among other research objectives, the study directly compared conventional biodiversity assessment techniques to eDNA technology.

Dr. Mehrdad Hajibabaei, eDNAtec’s Founder and Chief Scientific Officer is pleased with the results. “Our eDNA technology helped capture a comprehensive understanding of the deep ocean off Labrador’s coast—an understudied but very unique and important ecosystem. The findings show that our eDNA technology has great potential for monitoring the full abundance of fish populations in such a challenging environmental setting. It proved our technology is able to detect more species than a combination of trawling, baited cameras, and acoustics, providing faster, safer, and more comprehensive results with only a fraction of the ship time and labour.”

eDNAtec’s laboratory is the only specialized facility in the world using the most advanced DNA sequencing technology to study the environment. Driven by a desire to enable ocean industries to be more sustainable and be better stewards of the environment, eDNAtec has been developing EnviroSeq™, a suite of genomic toolkits aimed at supporting various ocean industries, including the fisheries.

Based in St. John’s, NL Canada, eDNAtec owns and operates the Centre for Environmental Genomics Applications. CEGA was established in 2017 by eDNAtec and its partners as a centre of excellence and the first research facility fully dedicated to advance environmental genomics technologies for real-world applications. CEGA is a one-of-a-kind world-class centre employing a team of experts equipped with high throughput sequencing platforms and specialized data analysis tools that are completely dedicated to environmental genomics applications.

This work was supported in part by funding from Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Canada’s Ocean Supercluster.

In the media

Scientists are tracking down deep sea creatures with free-floating DNA – Popular Science

New local tech reveals 10,000 species in just one litre of the Labrador Sea’s waters – The Telegram

 

Close