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Thread: DNA in Gas

  1. #1 DNA in Gas 
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    I don't want to appear gross, but have a genuine interest in the answer to the following problem:
    If 3 people are in a room, and one of them lets out gas, is it possible to:

    1) Collect a sample of the gas? If so, how?
    2) Test for presence of DNA in the sample? If so, how?
    3) Is it possible to collect a large enough sample of the gas to determine which one of the 3 people let out the gas?
    If so, how much is required?

    Thank you. robert2


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    Hmmm....

    I don't know, but can perhaps add some background: The intestinal tract contains huge numbers of bacteria, viruses and sloughed off cells from the intestinal lining. So, we have one prerequisite, namely a source of genetic material that may be used to uniquely identify an individual. How much and how effectively these materials can be aerosolized is something I can't comment upon. How much microscopic particulate matter there is in an "gas expulsion event" would also be something worth thinking about. A possible, if unlikely, route for disease transmission? If there was DNA available for sampling it would likely be at a very low level and be exceedingly difficult to separate from other airborne sources of DNA that the three people may have shed.

    Good question though...


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  4. #3 Re: DNA in Gas 
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert2
    I don't want to appear gross,


    Thank you. robert2
    You managed it, though, and with some style!
    However, I do so agree-an absolutely fascinating question.
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  5. #4  
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    I would really doubt it if they're wearing clothes. If they're naked, I'm guessing it would depend on the fart .
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  6. #5  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    I wonder if the DNA would be heavier than the surrounding gas. That might lead to the DNA falling more quickly than the rest of the excretion, and separate before capture/collection.
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