A group of researchers from the University of Florida have made a discovery that reveals that information about a person’s DNA can now be detected from footprints left on the beach, air breathed in a room, or saliva-like waste left while swimming in the ocean.
In the study, the results of which were published in the scientific journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, it was stated that while scientists were collecting environmental DNA samples from the sand to study endangered sea turtles, they concluded that the findings were of very high quality and the genetic ancestry of the population living in that area could be determined.
Within the scope of the research, it was observed that the DNAs of the working personnel and animals could be detected and matched, in the examination of air samples taken from an animal clinic of 280 square meters, where 6 people work.
“Human DNA, which enters the environment through our saliva, skin, sweat and blood, can be used to find missing persons and aid forensic investigations to solve crimes, identify sites of archaeological importance and monitor health through DNA traces in wastewater,” the research report said.
“All this personal, ancestral and health data is freely available in the environment and is now hanging in the air,” said David Duffy, Professor of Genomics at the University of Florida Wildlife Diseases.
The report also pointed to the danger that the same methods could facilitate malicious studies such as “privacy violations, location tracking, data collection, genetic tracking of individuals or populations”.