Museum of natural history of the City of Geneva
Muséum d’histoire naturelle de la ville de Genève
Route de Malagnou, 1
Direction: Manuel Ruedi, Muséum d’histoire naturelle de Genève & UNIGE
It is more and more popular to rely on genetic markers to identify species based on DNA traces such as those issued from guano or from hairs, without actually capturing any specimen. In order to be useful, such an approach needs to rely on a well-curated reference database with public access. Unfortunately, this is not yet available for most organisms, even for charismatic groups such as mammals. Worse, current publicly accessible databases (GenBank or Bold) are plagued with labelling or misidentification errors, compromising the reliability of such barcoding approaches. We propose here to address this problem by developing a reference database of carefully identified specimens deposited in reference museum collection, and explore the potential of various markers to serve as barcodes to identify them. With this approach, we hope to pave the way for better, unsupervised identification of mammal through eDNA, and avoid most methodological pitfalls.