Forget your fingerprints, hair and saliva swabs. Scientists have now found a way to detect even the smallest traces of DNA in the air.
This discovery, made independently by British and Danish researchers earlier this year, could pave the way for experts to study rare wildlife, but it could also have implications for criminal investigations.
In this way, scientists can not only further study animals that normally live in hard-to-reach environments such as deserts, rainforests, and caves, but also reveal the DNA of suspicious people who have passed crime scenes. This enables us to support police investigations.
New technologies for detecting fragments of DNA in the air could be useful for forensic research
Professor Elizabeth Claire from the University of York, Canada, tested the innovative technology at Hamerton Zoo in Cambridgeshire last December.
Scientists previously found that this method “raises some interesting questions” about how this technique can be used not only in animal experiments but also in forensics.
Claire and her team, formerly at Queen Mary University of London, have installed highly sensitive filters on vacuum pumps at 20 locations on site.
Speaking to the observer, she said, “The animal is a non-native species and is confined in an enclosure, so the zoo is a great place to test such techniques. I have noticed that. “
The team discovered 17 DNA fragments, including tiger, during last year’s experiment
The team collected 72 samples and used the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify the very small amount of DNA in the filter.
They found 17 fragments of DNA, including tigers, dingoes, and the most prolific black and white varis.
Scientists believe this was due to how active the animals were and how the lemurs released more DNA.
Lemuriformes lemur DNA was the most abundant in the samples collected.
A similar experiment Christina Lynggaard and Kristine Bohmann from the University of Copenhagen came to similar conclusions.
They matched 49 aerial species of DNA collected around Copenhagen Zoo.
“We received DNA from mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, animals large and small, winged creatures, and other scaly creatures. We also discovered DNA from guppies swimming in the zoo’s tropical house pond. Did.
The equipment was so fragile that the team tracked DNA from local wildlife, nearby pets, and animals raised as feed for zoo animals.
Thanks to state-of-the-art technology, DNA can be extracted from the atmosphere to identify animals
Both teams are thrilled with the results and believe that scientists can change the way scientists study biodiversity, but initial accuracy needs to be improved by dating samples.
Claire said this was part of ongoing research on the technology, adding: It could have been minutes, hours, or days. ”
The ability to trace human DNA has excited researchers alike with this new technology.
How does it work?
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a complex chemical of almost every organism that carries genetic information.
It is located on the chromosome of the cell nucleus and almost every cell in the human body has the same DNA.
It consists of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T).
The structure of double helix DNA is derived from adenine, which binds to thymine, and cytosine, which binds to guanine.
Scientists have now found a way to collect DNA from the air in a room.
It sucks in air from the room and directs it to the fine filter.
The device is so sensitive that it can detect environmental DNA (eDNA) released by animals and humans.
So far, eDNA could only be detected in water, soil and snow.
Source: National Library of Medicine
In March, MailOnline revealed how air inhaled from a room and expelled through an ultra-fine filter can capture the DNA released from the human body.
In this study, published in the journal PeerJ, DNA from the naked mole rat was found in the air in the lab’s caves and in the room where they were housed.
The so-called “Air DNA” was extracted from the filter and successfully sequenced.
This technique was also used to identify human DNA from the mole rat’s caretaker. This was what researchers say came as a surprise, but it shows the sensitivity of the technology.
Researchers believe that human DNA came from those who care for the naked mole rat, even though the naked mole rat spends much less time in space than animals.
Claire, who led the research, said at the time, “Here we provide the first published evidence that animal eDNA can be collected from the air, caves and burrows. “
She adds, “Opens up some interesting questions” about how this technology can be used in forensic medicine and archeology.
For example, examining the grave air can be a way of obtaining DNA samples from long-dead mummies and skeletons.
However, applying this technique in this way can be difficult and requires advancement.
The new technology relies on pulling room air into a filter, which means it can be difficult to get DNA from a larger room or space, says Claire.
British scientists have discovered rare wildlife DNA in AIR – and technology could be used to find criminals
Source link British scientists have discovered rare wildlife DNA in AIR – and technology could be used to find criminals