A hands on training module for third generation sequencing at the summer school of the West African Marine Fish DNA Barcoding Network (WAMBA.net), Sept 2024.
The rate of species extinction is currently 100 times higher than the background rate through geological history, heading to a sixth mass extinction. Environmental DNA (eDNA) allows efficient biodiversity screening of marine ecosystems, but monitoring relies on regional DNA barcode reference databases, which are sparse in tropical countries. Furthermore, DNA sequencing facilities are far less available there than in developed countries, which calls for alternative solutions. On the other hand, the sequencing error rate and costs of small benchtop DNA sequencers have constantly decreased over the last years, now allowing direct on-site data acquisition.
To foster biodiversity monitoring POGO is funding a hands on training module for third generation sequencing at the summer school of the West African Marine Fish DNA Barcoding Network (WAMBA.net). This training is jointly organized by the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), France, the MOMBASA project of the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), Germany and the Université Nangui Abrogoua, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where it will be hosted in September 2024.
Marine fishes are an excellent focus point for marine molecular biodiversity assessment as standardized methods for reference documentation are available and fisheries have a huge importance for human nutrition. This is particularly true in West Africa, where small-scale artisanal fisheries contribute significantly to livelihood and poverty reduction. The objective of the training is to deliver practical lab and bioinformatics skills on a small and inexpensive DNA sequencing device, the MinION flongle from Oxford Nanopores Technologies to generate reference DNA barcodes. The delivered knowledge will empower researchers and multiplicators from various West African countries to monitor their marine biodiversity on their own, without the need for international cooperation. Although this training is focused on the generation of a reference DNA barcode database, the same protocol can be used to then monitor biodiversity with eDNA.