Caren Goldberg
Caren Goldberg

New technology at Washington State University could help save the world’s largest species of freshwater turtle from extinction.

The Yangtze giant softshell turtle weighs as much as an NFL lineman and once thrived in the lakes and rivers of Southeast Asia. Today, only four are known to be alive, and the lone male is infertile.

Caren Goldberg, assistant professor at the WSU School of the Environment (SoE), is using environmental DNA (eDNA) to help conservationists search for Yangtze turtles that might be surviving in the wild. The technology detects telltale bits of genetic material that living creatures shed into their environment.

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