Organisational unit: Team
The variation in DNA affects the ability of individuals, populations and species to adapt to a dynamic world. In addition, the genetic code is also an excellent source of information for identifying, detecting and detailing biodiversity of species that are difficult to identify.
The Genetic Diversity team works largely around these two themes:
(1) the use of genetic research to assess the status of species and populations. This includes research into the genetic connection between populations, the effectiveness of ecological connections, genetic diversity within and between populations, the actual size of populations and their adaptive capacity. With these techniques it is also possible to assign individuals to a region or population of origin. This also allows the selection of suitable source populations for reintroduction and other ecological movements of organisms.
(2) DNA barcoding is a set of methods that uses genetic variation between species to identify and name individuals, sometimes morphologically indistinguishable or completely unrecognisable. Using DNA barcoding, for example, we are able to identify which bat species droppings come from, whether or not a pluck of hairs on a barbed wire comes from wolf, what seabirds eat on the basis of their excrements, which plant species a pollinating insect has visited on the basis of the pollen it carries. In the meantime, we have extended this principle to analyses of environmental DNA or eDNA. Analyses on eDNA samples allow, among other things, to detect which species of amphibians and fish are present in rivers, ponds and pools.