February 16, 2022
Two teams of scientists, one in Denmark and one in the UK, have worked independently to come up with a new way of identifying animals—by testing the DNA in the air. The DNA in the air is collected on very high-quality filters using a vacuuming process. Once the DNA has been trapped, it is studied under a microscope. Researchers believe this new method will help scientists keep track of animals that are hard to spot; this includes animals that are on the vulnerable and endangered list.
Dr Kristine Bohmann was one of the scientists on the Copenhagen team. Her team identified 49 different kinds of animals including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish, including guppies in a pond. Dr Elizabeth Clare led the team in the UK that identified 25 different kinds of animals, including tigers, lemurs and dingoes. They even identified DNA from animals that were inside sealed buildings.
Did You Know?
Humans share 85% of their DNA with mice, 40% with fruit flies and 41% with bananas.