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Rights: Plamen Petrov, licensed through 123RF Ltd. Published 16 May 2017 Size: 230 KB

PCR contributes to our understanding of many environmental issues, particularly where the detection of microorganisms in the environment is required. PCR allows specific target species to be identified and quantified, even when very low numbers exist. One common example is searching for pathogens or indicator species such as coliforms in water supplies.

Find out how PCR has been used by scientists to explore the environment in Developing an assay, Detecting viruses in the environment, Life in the upper troposphere and Virus hunters

To think about:
As a population, we are becoming more aware of the importance of water quality. Whose responsibility should it be to monitor water quality? Who should be allowed access to information about water quality? Whose responsibility should it be to maintain good water quality?

Acknowledgements:
Image by Plamen Petrov, licensed through 123RF Ltd.