DailyDirt: NYC Subways Filled With Unknown Species
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
No one would want to lick a handrail on the New York City subway because it’s just gross — and who knows what kind of germs and stuff are living in the urban grime? Well, now we have a better idea. Thousands of samples have been analysed, and the results are published. A city-wide metagenomic profile of NYC could tell us demographic data and confirm census polls, and a map of the data is available online. Follow a few of the links below for a bit more info.
- A biological study of the NYC subway system has mapped and identified (where possible) the DNA found on handrails, turnstiles, kiosks and other places commonly touched by gazillions of people all the time. They found at least 637 known species of bacteria — as well as viruses, fungi, microscopic animals… and a bunch of DNA (48% of all their samples) that hasn’t been identified yet. [url]
- Specimens of anthrax and bubonic plague were also found in NYC subway stations, as well as drug-resistant bacteria. Human DNA made it into the top five most abundant species in NYC subways, after insects and microbes. [url]
- This DNA study of a “healthy” ecosystem highlights just how little we actually know about the species all around us. It may be time to start sequencing the cockroach genome so we know what will still be alive when humans aren’t around anymore. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.