Monitoring newt communities in urban area using eDNA metabarcoding.

Newts are amphibians commonly present in small ponds or garden pools in urban areas. They are protected in many countries and their presence is monitored through visual observation and/or trapping. However, newts are not easy to spot as they are small, elusive and often hidden at the bottom of water bodies. In recent years, environmental DNA (eDNA) has become a popular tool for detecting newts, with a focus on individual species using qPCR assays. Here, we assess the effectiveness of eDNA metabarcoding compared to conventional visual surveys of newt diversity in 45 ponds within urban areas of Geneva canton, Switzerland. We designed newt-specific mitochondrial 16S rRNA primers, which assign the majority of amplicons to newts, and were able to detect four species known to be present in the region, including the invasive subspecies , native to the Italian peninsula, that has been introduced in the Geneva area recently. The obtained eDNA results were congruent overall with conventional surveys, confirming the morphological observations in the majority of cases (67%). In 25% of cases, a species was only detected genetically, while in 8% of cases, the observations were not supported by eDNA metabarcoding. Our study confirms the usefulness of eDNA metabarcoding as a tool for the effective and non-invasive monitoring of newt community and suggests its broader use for the survey of newt diversity in urban area at larger scales.


New behaviors dating back to ca. 35’000 years identified at Toumboura III archaeological site, Eastern Senegal

The excavation of the archaeological site of Toumboura III has provided more than 13’000 stone artefacts resulting from the production of very specific stone tools: bifacial tools, among which small bifacial points probably intended to be hafted on wooden shafts and used as projectiles.


Understanding Lipid Biology: Insights into Neuronal Plasmalogen

21.02.2022 12:15, 1S059 (Sciences III)

Antonino Asaro (Howard Riezman (Bioch)).
hosted by: APDU.


Our department hosts 12 research laboratories gathering close to 200 scientists, engineers and technical staff. Research topics cover a large variety of topics, such as developmental genetics and neurogenetics, regeneration, evo-devo, physics of biology, phylogenetics or anthropology.



Teaching life sciences at the University of Geneva is an important duty for all staff scientists. In addition to the bachelor programme, we also propose specific masters and PhD specialisations through various programmes.



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