Agriculture
Growing Healthier Tomato Plants
Silk’s superpowers
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Amphibians
Toads
Newts
Salamanders
Animals
Odor-Chasing Penguins
A Wild Ferret Rise
Gliders in the Family
Behavior
Baby Number Whizzes
Making Sense of Scents
Girls are cool for school
Birds
Blue Jays
Kiwis
Dodos
Chemistry and Materials
Small but WISE
The metal detector in your mouth
The chemistry of sleeplessness
Computers
The Earth-bound asteroid scientists saw coming
Electronic Paper Turns a Page
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
Dinosaurs and Fossils
A Dino King's Ancestor
South America's sticky tar pits
Tiny Pterodactyl
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Ice Age Melting and Rising Seas
Rodent Rubbish as an Ice-Age Thermometer
Distant Quake Changes Geyser Eruptions
Environment
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
Will Climate Change Depose Monarchs?
The Wolf and the Cow
Finding the Past
Meet your mysterious relative
Decoding a Beverage Jar
Ancient Art on the Rocks
Fish
Hammerhead Sharks
Swordfish
Lungfish
Food and Nutrition
How Super Are Superfruits?
Packing Fat
Strong Bones for Life
GSAT English Rules
Order of Adjectives
Who vs. That vs. Which
Adjectives and Adverbs
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Scholarship
Mastering The GSAT Exam
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Mathematics
Math of the World
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
It's a Math World for Animals
Human Body
A Fix for Injured Knees
Dreaming makes perfect
The tell-tale bacteria
Invertebrates
Moths
Ants
Arachnids
Mammals
Quolls
Hamsters
Chipmunks
Parents
Children and Media
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
How children learn
Physics
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
IceCube Science
Powering Ball Lightning
Plants
Getting the dirt on carbon
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Stalking Plants by Scent
Reptiles
Reptiles
Sea Turtles
Pythons
Space and Astronomy
World of Three Suns
A Galaxy Far, Far, Far Away
Witnessing a Rare Venus Eclipse
Technology and Engineering
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Reach for the Sky
Machine Copy
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
What is a Verb?
What is a Noun
Transportation
Charged cars that would charge
Robots on a Rocky Road
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Weather
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Warmest Year on Record
Science loses out when ice caps melt
Add your Article

The tell-tale bacteria

Look closely at your hands — are they clean? It doesn’t matter how many times you wash your hands, they’re still crawling with tiny organisms called microbes. (You may know microbes by their other names, such as “germs” or “bacteria.”) You can’t get away from them: Microbes are everywhere. But don’t worry — most microbes don’t harm you, and many actually help you stay alive. Now, scientists say the microbes that live on our hands could be useful in a surprising way: fighting crime. When police visit the scene of a crime, they often look for fingerprints to try to identify the culprit. They can also look for other things, like hair, to figure out who was there. But according to a recent study, investigators could even use microbes to help crack a case. Every person has his or her own set of microbes that live on their hands, according to scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder. That means that if you and your best friend were able to see and compare all the microbes that lived on both of your hands, your hands probably would look different. Some microbes would show up on your hand; others would live only on your friend’s hand. Your mix of different kinds of hand microbes is unique — much like your fingerprint. The scientists in Colorado wanted to know whether this microbe mix could be used as a new kind of fingerprint — especially in a crime scene where fingerprints might be hard to find. The use of science to figure out what happened — such as studying fingerprints — is called forensics. Noah Fierer, one of the scientists, says microbe fingerprints are harder to hide. “You only need to smudge a fingerprint, but you can’t sterilize a surface just by wiping it off,” he told Science News. Fierer and the team of scientists knew that when people work on a computer, the microbes from their hands end up on the keyboard. (Think about the microbes that are on your keyboard — especially if many different people use it!) So to do their experiment, the scientists compared the bacteria on the hands of three people to the bacteria found on each person’s computer keyboard. For the study, the keyboards had been used only by the people who were being tested. The mix of microbes from each person’s hands matched the mix of microbes on that person’s keyboard. The scientists were easily able to tell the three people apart — just by looking at their keyboards. But that experiment was only on three people, so the scientists knew they had to test their idea against a larger population. Their next step was to collect bacteria samples from the palms and computer mice of nine people. When they compared those samples to the known microbe mix from the hands of 270 other people, the team again found a match. Nine times out of nine, the bacteria patterns lined up — and it was again easy to tell who had been using which mice. (The information on the microbe mixes from 270 people already existed as part of the Human Skin Microbiome project. The microbiome is the population of microbes that live in and on the human body.) So far, so good — but there are a lot more than 270 criminals out there. Other scientists wonder whether the microbe fingerprint can really be that useful. “Right now we really have no idea how unique a person’s skin microbiome is,” Elizabeth Grice told Science News. Grice is a geneticist at the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Fierer agrees that scientists have a lot more work to do before the microbe fingerprint will be a useful tool. In any case, it’s something to think about. Even if you don’t leave your fingerprints behind, your microbes may give you away.

The tell-tale bacteria
The tell-tale bacteria








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™