Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Extraction of Insect DNA From The Air!

    This article details how we have a high estimate of the total number of species on this planet. It discusses how many species we have discovered in comparison to our early highest estimates, and provides a potential solution. Our current method of identifying new species around the world is incredibly slow, only moving forward by people actively going in the field, collecting, and describing species. Additionally, rates of species discovery grow increasingly slower as the species decrease in size. However, this new form of technology would allow the capture of DNA from within the air. It costs less, and is faster than traditional sampling methods, and, additionally, can ID many species simultaneously. Airborne samples are collected using something called a liquid cyclone contraption. This pulls air into a liquid filled tube, trapping DNA fragments. This then allows for DNA extraction, amplification, and sequencing. This method is particularly efficient with insect species, which is significant because insects are the most diverse group of organisms on the planet. This article stresses how species identification is very important for conservation efforts. 

    I find this article to be incredibly interesting. As someone who actively studies insects, I feel as though this new method is far more efficient when it comes to insect identification and the identification of new insect species. it would also in theory utilize less resources, as now individuals studying the insects won't have to spend as much time in the field, therefore reducing the need for long term camping, and other resource use in the field. I can foresee some potential problems, however this is a fantastic starting point, and feels almost like the work of science fiction. I cannot wait to see where this research goes.

(Pictured is an example of a liquid cyclone separator)

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