DNA profiling the city

Scientists in New York are swabbing ATMs (automated teller machines) to profile the city's DNA from the mass of microbes, human skin cells and other detritus deposited on the ATM keypad by users every day. Jane Carlton and her colleagues at New York University identified sources of microbes on the keypads as household surfaces such as televisions, restrooms, kitchens and pillows. They also found microbes from bony fish, mollusks, and chicken in different neighborhoods. However, the samples had low diversity and showed no obvious clustering by geography.