Scientists and researchers may not need to dig out DNA from the surface in the future.according to Scientific focusResearchers at Queen Mary University of London have shown that you can collect “environmental DNA” (eDNA) from the air.
The team used a peristaltic pump combined with a pressure filter to capture DNA samples from naked mole rats for 5 to 20 minutes, and then used standard kits to search for genes in the resulting samples and sequence them. This method can not only accurately locate the rat’s DNA (whether in their house or in the entire room), but also capture some human DNA at the same time.
Lead author Dr. Elizabeth Claire said that this work was originally designed to help conservationists and ecologists study the biological environment. However, with sufficient development, it can be used in more fields. The forensic department can extract DNA from the air to determine whether there is a suspect at the crime scene. It may also be useful in medicine—virologists and epidemiologists can understand how airborne viruses (such as the virus behind COVID-1
Any practical use goes a long way. The research department is already working with private companies such as NatureMetrics to develop practical applications. The limitations are easy to see-you want to use it in an area where you know what DNA is needed, so it may not work well in crowded rooms or outdoor spaces. However, it can be very useful to have this option only in situations where there is no clear answer on the surface.