Forget your fingerprints, hair and saliva swabs. Scientists have now come up with a way to detect even the smallest traces of DNA in the air.
This discovery, independently made by British and Danish researchers earlier this year, could pave the way for experts to study rare wildlife, but it could also impact criminal investigations.
This not only allows scientists to further study animals that normally live in hard-to-reach environments such as deserts, rainforests, and caves, but also reveals the DNA of suspected individuals who have passed crime scenes. This means that we can support police investigations.
New technologies for detecting DNA fragments in the air may be useful for forensic research
Professor Elizabeth Claire of the University of York, Canada, tested the innovative technology at the Hamerton Zoo in Cambridgeshire last December.
Scholars have previously stated that this method “opens up some interesting questions” about how this technique can be used not only in animal studies but also in forensics.
Claire and her team, formerly at Queen Mary University of London, have placed high-sensitivity filters mounted on vacuum pumps in 20 locations around the site.
Talking to the observer, she said: “Animal is a non-native species and is spatially confined in an enclosure, so the zoo is a great place to test such techniques. I noticed. “
The team discovered 17 DNA fragments, including tigers, 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 found in the filter.
They found 17 DNA fragments, including tigers, dingos, and the most prolific black and white ruffed lemurs.
Scientists believe that this is due to how active the animals were, and as a result the lemurs released more DNA.
The DNA of Lemuriformes lemur was the most abundant in the samples collected.
A similar experiment Christina Lynggaard and Kristine Bohmann of the University of Copenhagen gave similar results.
They matched 49 DNA species from the air collected around the Copenhagen Zoo.
“We obtained DNA from mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, large and small animals, winged creatures, and other scaly creatures. We also detected DNA from Guppy swimming in the zoo’s tropical house pond. Did.
The equipment was so sensitive that the team tracked DNA from local wildlife, nearby pets, and animals kept as food for zoo animals.
State-of-the-art technology means that DNA can be captured from the atmosphere to detect animals
Both teams are excited about the findings and believe that scientists can change the way scientists study biodiversity, but initial accuracy needs to be improved by dating samples.
Claire said this would be part of the ongoing research on the technology, adding: It could be minutes, hours, or days ago. ”
The possibility of tracking human DNA has excited researchers equally 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 is composed 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 draws air from the room and sends it to the ultra-fine filter.
The device is so sensitive that it can detect environmental DNA (eDNA) released by animals and humans.
Previously, 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 ultrafine filter can capture DNA released from the human body.
In this study, published in the journal PeerJ, the DNA of the naked mole rat was found in the air in the burrows in the laboratory and in the room in which they were housed.
The so-called “Air DNA” was extracted from the filter and successfully sequenced.
Human DNA from the caretaker of the mole rat was also identified by this technique. This is what researchers say was a surprise, but it reveals the sensitivity of the technology.
Researchers believe that human DNA comes from those who care for the naked mole rat, even though the naked mole rat spends much less time in the room than animals.
Claire, who led this research project, 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, “Opening some interesting questions” about how this technology can be used in forensic medicine and archeology.
For example, studying grave air may be a way to obtain DNA samples of long dead mummies and skeletons.
However, using this technique in this way can be tricky and requires progress.
The new technology relies on drawing room air into a filter, which means that it can be difficult to get DNA from a larger room or space, Claire says.
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