The Limitations of eDNA ³Evidence´
A newly theorized and highly sensitive testing method called eDNA foundinconclusive evidence of Asian carp genetic material near the Great Lakes.During a one week kill and capture operation in May designed to verifywhether this genetic material indicated the presence of live Asian carpbeyond existing barriers, the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committeekilled and sorted 11,000 fish in the Little Calumet River. No Asian carp werefound.A lone Bighead carp was found during a separate routine monitoring effort in
June near Lake Calumet. The presence of this single fish does not validatethe continued use of eDNA.Still, politically motivated proponents of economically devastating lock
closure point to eDNA as scientific proof that existing barriers are notcontrolling the spread of Asian carp. There is simply no evidence that this is
true, nor do eDNA test results indicate the presence of a self-sustainingpopulation of Asian carp upriver of the barriers.
The µevidence¶ of carp is based on a test that, according to one of thebiologists who helped implement it, is so sensitive it is likely picking up onextremely insignificant incidences of fish ± such as genetic material ± ratherthan actual living Asian carp, much less sustaining or reproducing colonies.
S Army Corp of Engineers (
SACE) Major General John Peabody noted thateDNA testing has not yet undergone a complete scientific, independent peerreview, and therefore, any evidence that the electronic barrier has beenbreached is speculative.
(February 9, 2010,³Statement of Major General John Peabody, USACE´ , Subcommittee on Water Resources and Development, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives)
The continued use of eDNA to justify lock closure is not acceptable. The
SACE¶s most report states that eDNA, ³as an emerging technology beingapplied in a field setting for the first time,
SACE cannot conclude that watersamples testing positive for eDNA evidence confirms the presence of Asian