ADAS (an RSK company) has correctly identified 100% of all ‘blind’ environmental DNA (eDNA) samples in the Great Crested Newt (GCN) eDNA proficiency test, maintaining its record of correctly identifying all samples in every GNC eDNA proficiency test to date. This year, ADAS was one of five laboratories to achieve the perfect score. Eight laboratories participated in the test.
Great Crested Newt
Natural England approved eDNA analysis in 2014 to determine the presence or absence of Great Crested Newts. The proficiency testing scheme has been developed to evidence the level of quality offered by different eDNA testing laboratories. For underperforming laboratories, this provides an opportunity to recognise and address any problems in their procedures so that they can implement improvements. For ecologists using eDNA as a survey tool, it allows them to compare the services offered by each testing laboratory and discuss supplier performance.
“This year, ten ‘blind’ samples were sent to each participating laboratory by the proficiency testing service, FAPAS. The unknown samples contained low, medium, and high amounts of GCN DNA, some samples were negative (no GCN eDNA), and others were inhibitors,” explains Ben Maddison, ADAS Biotechnology Managing Director. “Laboratories provided their eDNA kits so that any level of sample degradation/recovery could also be monitored.
“This year, five out of the eight laboratories correctly identified all samples (compared with two out of eight laboratories in 2019, and five of nine laboratories spring 2018). One laboratory reported false positive detection in a negative sample, and three laboratories missed samples containing low GCN DNA. The ADAS eDNA laboratory identified all samples correctly.”
Natural England only accepts eDNA results from laboratories participating in the proficiency testing scheme to support GCN license applications and post-development presence and absence monitoring for mitigation licences.
For more information on ADAS’ eDNA testing services, please visit the ADAS website.