Adam West / April 03,2021

Scientists Show You Can Collect DNA From The Air


Scientists and investigators might not need to scoop up DNA from surfaces in the future. According to Science Focus, researchers at the Queen Mary University of London have shown that you can collect “environmental DNA” (eDNA) from the air.

The Scientists used a peristaltic pump combined with pressure filters to grab samples of naked mole rat DNA for five to 20 minutes, and then used standard kits to find and sequence genes in the resulting samples.

This method not only pinpointed the mole rats’ DNA (both in their housing and in the room at large), but caught some human DNA at the same time.

Lead author Dr. Elizabeth Claire said the work was originally meant to help conservationists and ecologists study biological environments. With enough development, though, it could be used for considerably more.

Forensics units could pluck DNA from the air to determine if a suspect had been present at the scene of a crime. It might also be useful in medicine — virologists and epidemiologists could understand how airborne viruses (like the one behind COVID-19) spread.

Any practical uses are a long way off. The research unit is already working with private companies like NatureMetrics to develop practical applications.

It’s easy to see limitations you want to use this in areas where you know what DNA to expect, so it might not work well in crowded rooms or in outdoor spaces.

Adam West / May 23,2020

Meet Crew Dragon Astronaut Robert Behnken

Meet Crew Dragon Astronaut Robert Behnken

Meet Crew Dragon Astronaut Robert BehnkenRobert Behnken (Credit: NASA)
Robert L. Behnken was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2000 and is a veteran of two space shuttle flights. He is currently training for the Demo 2 flight of SpaceX’s CrewDragon spacecraft, the first crewed flight for that vehicle.  Behnken and his crewmate are working closely with SpaceX to develop their new spacecraft systems, which will provide roundtrip crew transportation services to the International Space Station and, along with Boeing’s Starliner, return the ability to launch humans into space from United States soil. A native of Missouri, Behnken flew STS-123 in March 2008 and STS-130 in February 2010, logging more than 708 hours in space, and more than 37 hours during six spacewalks.

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