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The future stewards of Quebec’s waterways

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The future stewards of Quebec’s waterways

Mission eDNA is an innovative citizen science project that allows young people to take part in real-world, scientific fieldwork by becoming researchers for a day. Supported by Génome Québec, this initiative involves high school students across Quebec collecting genomic data to better understand the state of biodiversity in waterways through DNA. This activity, which works into the curriculum of secondary science courses of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, is supervised by a team of scientists from l’Université Laval, the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, the Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change and, most recently, Hydro-Québec.

Ultimately, the data collected will provide valuable information on the status of invasive species and species at risk in rivers. These scientific data can also be used to develop management tools and protect the biodiversity of ecosystems. The data will be kept in a database and made available to the scientific community and appropriate ministries. This educational platform created by Génome Québec is funded by the Ministry of Economy and Innovation. Hydro-Québec has recently become a funding partner.

The second edition of the project, during the 2020-21 school year, involved 26 schools and more than 1,000 students in the regions of Capitale-Nationale, Beauce, Chaudière-Appalaches and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Students collected a total of 660 samples, the equivalent of 165 litres of filtered water, from 44 sampling sites across 16 rivers and lakes. A third edition is in the works for 2021-22. Over several years, Mission ADN-eau will inspire a new generation of ambassadors for environmental genomics and help them explore their interests in scientific professions.

In partnership with Génome Québec