In a study published on March 31, scientists at Queen Mary University of London demonstrated that DNA can be extracted from the air for the first time. This finding may help forensic researchers, anthropologists, and even identify aerial infections such as COVID-19. How does this technique work?
Collect eDNA from the air
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Scientists can collect information about COVID-19 in the air
According to the report of ScienceFocus, Queen Mary University of London, scientists have demonstrated that DNA can be extracted from the air for the first time.
Forensic, anthropological, and even public health researchers believe that such findings will help us understand how aerial illness spreads. COVID-19 is a prime example as it can be collected in areas where the virus is rapidly spreading.
The team explored the possibility of using environmental DNA (eDNA) to identify animal species from atmospheric samples. Most similar studies focus on collecting eDNA from water samples.
A proof-of-concept study published in the magazine PeerJ showed that DNA from the naked mole rat and humans can be detected in the air.
according to Engadget, Researchers used a peristaltic pump and a pressure filter to collect Morrat DNA samples for up to 20 minutes. Then a standard sequence kit was applied to the resulting sample.
Using this method, the researchers have demonstrated that air DNA can successfully detect naked mole rat DNA in animal farms or in the room itself. Human DNA was also found in air samples. This suggests that this sampling technique can be used for forensic research.
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Can you use air samples effectively today?
(Photo: Photo by Chokniti Khongchum of Pexels)
Scientists can collect information about COVID-19 in the air
The lead author, Dr. Elizabeth Claire, states that the study was initially aimed at helping conservationists and ecologists in studying the biological environment.
However, with sufficient development, it can be used for many more purposes. Forensic departments can take DNA samples from the air to see if they are present at a crime scene.
It also helps practitioners understand how airborne viruses, such as the virus behind COVID-19, spread.
Currently, social distancing guidelines are based on estimates of how far viral particles can spread due to the laws of physics.However, scientists can use this technique to collect objective evidence to support such guidelines, Claire said. ScienceFocus paper.
Practical applications are still far away. Some private organizations, such as NatureMetrics, are already developing practical applications.
The limits are easy to see. This may not work well in crowded rooms or outdoors as it is needed in areas where the expected DNA is known. Nevertheless, this option can be advantageous in situations where the surface does not provide a clear answer.
This new approach has a long way to go, but it will soon benefit many. It also provides a new way to get DNA and discover information about the world around us.
Related article: Data updated by AstraZeneca: The effective rate has dropped from 79% to 76%, but the company says it is 100% effective even in severe cases.
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