The Unlikely Place To Find New Species

July 31, 2018

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Hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences and New York University, the Microbes in the City conference found some interesting things. Among them, when surfaces in New York's subway system were tested, 48% of the genetic material discovered was unidentifiable. That's right, nearly half of the microbes found were unknown, based on today's scientific standards.

Furthermore, if you want to come in contact with as little bacteria as possible; stand, don't sit! That's because the metal poles in the subway cars are home to fewer bacterial biomass than the seats. However, most of the bacteria found in the subway were harmless or simply associated with human skin.

The goal is that by tracking bacteria, viruses, and fungi that reside in urban environments, they'll be able to track disease outbreaks and improve the overall health of those who live and work in big cities.