Maxxam uses quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to detect the presence of a target species in an eDNA sample.
qPCR is a highly sensitive and specific DNA analysis that allows for detection of low quantities of DNA through cycles of PCR that exponentially generate many copies that are visualized by the lab instrument with a fluorescent reporter dye.
Maxxam first checks the quality of eDNA using the ePlant test developed by Dr. Caren Helbing at the University of Victoria. This is a critical first step in preventing false negative results as it verifies the eDNA quality prior to testing for the target species.
To test for presence of the target species, Maxxam runs 8 technical replicates for each eDNA sample to provide sufficient statistical power to confirm detection or no detection of the target species.