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DNA Collection From Air

Researchers from Queen Mary University have found Animal DNA shed within the Environment can be collected from the air. This research was published in the journal Peer J. Environmental DNA  is an emerging field allowing scientists to conduct biomonitoring and ecological research by sampling the environment for and later analyze them.

Plants and animals shed DNA into their surrounding environments as they interact with them. Environmental has become an important tool to help scientists identify species found within different environments. However, whilst a range of environmental samples, including soil and air, have been proposed as sources of environmental  until now most studies have focused on the collection of e from water.

Environmental DNA comes from a range of sources, including saliva, urine, and skin cells which are filtered out of substrates such as water, or in this case, air. This is an important tool but the researchers haven’t found whether the  can be extracted from thin air.

The group of researchers led by Dr. Elizabeth Clare tested whether they could collect the environment from mammals.  The team led by targeted a colony of naked mole-rats which had inhabited a dedicated housing room for more than a year, and thus was likely to have a significant amount of shed skin cells in the environment.

They used commercially available filters and air pumps and collected their air and particulate samples into sterile plastic chambers for examination. The samples were then genetically sequenced. They found that the samples collected not only included cells shed by the naked mole-rats, but also those shed by the humans who had been looking after them.

 Dr. Clare told Motherboard that this was the first thing we all discussed and said that it’s so contaminated with human DNA.

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