DNA that Matches No Known Organism

virus, courtesy Виталий СмолыгинOccasionally there’s a headline that catches my eye and starts the fiction wheels spinning. Such was this eye-catcher: Half the DNA on the NYC Subway Matches No Known Organism.


That’s a curious thing with some interesting implications.

This was part of the PATHOMAP PROJECT, a research project by Weill Cornell Medical College. We should all have such interesting jobs, right? The research was intended to shed some light on the microbiome and metagenome environment of New York City. Actually, this is quite interesting and something we should consider doing in lots of other places. They’ve got links to the full manuscript online now, as well as the raw datasets. Check it out!

In the end, it turns out that not knowing the source for half the DNA isn’t all that unusual. We simply don’t have a map of every organism out there yet and it’s going to take a good long while to get everything into an accessible databank. So, while most of the unknown stuff is likely to turn out to be goo from familiar organisms like insects and boogies, something ooky and creepy might yet show up… like an old fashioned X-Files kinda monster. That’d be cool.

Anyhow, if you want to read the report, click on over to GIZMODO and indulge in some speculation. You’re welcome.

, ,

  1. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s