Over the past two decades, molecular technologies have been developing rapidly for clinical applications. Recently these tools have begun making significant impacts on environmental monitoring programs. The ability to replicate specific genes using PCR is the most powerful tool to date and has already improved the capability of environmental analysis in order to address emerging societal needs. These tools can be applied for microbial source tracking, analysis of emerging pathogens, disaster responses, and prevention of infectious disease within an integrated risk assessment framework that will enhance decision making within the current limited economic constraints.

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