Draft Details

Designation:W214 (New Standard)
Review start date:Jan 7, 2021
Review end date:Mar 7, 2021
Contact email:kenneth.clogg-wright(at)csagroup.org
Draft Scope/Description:

This Standard applies to appropriate reporting of information regarding the conduct of eDNA biological surveys or assessments. 

This Standard provides:

Definitions for terms that are routinely used in the description of eDNA studies;

Minimum reporting requirements for eDNA studies in a quality assurance/quality control context, including the following:

Reporting requirements describing survey design;

Reporting requirements for metadata collection;

Reporting requirements for different types of substrate collected from the environment;

Reporting requirements for sample collection, labelling, handling, and preservation;

Reporting requirements for the extraction of nucleic acids (i.e., DNA, RNA);

Reporting requirements for various analytical methods (qPCR, metabarcoding, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, etc.);

Reporting requirements for overall survey analysis and interpretation; and

Reporting requirements for assessing the possibility or probability of Type 1 (false positive) and Type 2 (false negative) errors.


This Standard is intended for use by the following:

proponents of resource development projects whose business may have either direct or indirect influences on natural systems, particularly aquatic systems, and whose development depends on social and regulatory acceptance of transparent science-based studies of natural ecosystems in the interest of accurately understanding and describing project-related effects.

industrial proponents that have activities with potential ecological impacts.

regulatory agencies, including, but not limited to, federal, Indigenous, provincial, and municipal resource managers.

contract administrators who oversee a project that utilizes any aspect of eDNA in its purview.

non-government stakeholders, including environmental non-government organizations, that review or audit eDNA projects for compliance with reasonable expectation for due diligence. This may include consideration in a legal setting under court review to ensure professional diligence during execution and reporting of any project that utilizes any of the genetic approaches described herein.

professional biologists and qualified environmental professionals that may audit a project to ensure competency and completeness.

academic researchers and educators, for the purposes of improving and advancing the collective field of genetics research, and

others with a vested interest in eDNA studies, including aspects of project design, execution, and results interpretation.


The requirements provided in this Standard apply to practitioners engaged in the delivery of eDNA studies and reporting of their results. Project results may influence decisions on the conservation and management of natural resources. Application of the standards outlined herein will enable effective evaluation of eDNA methods during project implementation      and enhance confidence in decision-making based upon the project results.

Proper Use

This Standard applies to the minimum reporting requirements for the planning, execution, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of eDNA projects. The Standard can be used in conjunction with other standards e.g., ISO/IEC 17025 to enable laboratories to demonstrate that they operate competently and generate valid results to further promote confidence in eDNA surveys. This Standard does not prescribe nor endorse any particular eDNA approach or methodology. Nor is the Standard intended to constrain future developments in eDNA approaches, methodologies, or applications.

Many elements of the Standard are relevant to multiple steps in the eDNA workflow. To reduce repetition, Standard requirements have been strategically placed within the document. Users should read through the Standard in its entirety.

Where quantitative measurements are required, users shall report these measures using relevant standard measures and units.

You may comment on any section of this document by clicking the “Submit Comment” link at the bottom of the relevant section.