Sunday, August 8, 2021

DNA pulled from thin air identifies nearby animals

Researchers can now collect and sequence DNA from the air | Live Science 

 Tracking animal DNA is something that has been done on land and in the water but researchers have recently been able to do it in air. British and Danish researchers have found a way to identify DNA in the atmosphere released from wildlife. Teams set up vacuum pumps throughout the Hamerton Zoo Park in Cambridge and Copenhagen Zoo and were able to find DNA from the animals there in the filters. One of the most impressive parts was that not only did they get DNA from the animals currently at the zoo, they were also able to pick up on genetic material from the animals used as food for the others. This technique can be incredibly beneficial in the future as ways to study and detect rare species or those who are harder to find, e.g. those that live in caves, burrows, etc. The one downside to this technique that while they can detect that an animal was present, there is no way as of yet to figure out when it was there. There is also no way of knowing how long DNA lasts in air so this technique will have to be worked on more before being used.


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