Agriculture
Keeping Bugs Away from Food
Treating peanut allergy bit by bit
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Amphibians
Poison Dart Frogs
Salamanders
Bullfrogs
Animals
The Secret Lives of Grizzlies
Life on the Down Low
The History of Meow
Behavior
Wake Up, Sleepy Gene
Homework blues
Fighting fat with fat
Birds
Kingfishers
Tropical Birds
Hawks
Chemistry and Materials
Big Machine Reveals Small Worlds
The Incredible Shrunken Kids
Sticky Silky Feet
Computers
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Toxic Dirt + Avian Flu = Science Fair Success
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Hunting by Sucking, Long Ago
Dino-Dining Dinosaurs
Feathered Fossils
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Rodent Rubbish as an Ice-Age Thermometer
A Dire Shortage of Water
Quick Quake Alerts
Environment
Nanosponges Soak Up Pollutants
Fungus Hunt
Power of the Wind
Finding the Past
Preserving Ancient Warrior Paint
Little People Cause Big Surprise
Digging Up Stone Age Art
Fish
Great White Shark
Electric Eel
A Jellyfish's Blurry View
Food and Nutrition
Chew for Health
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
Sponges' secret weapon
GSAT English Rules
Problems with Prepositions
Whoever vs. Whomever
Pronouns
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
March 21-22, 2013: Over 43,000 students will take the GSAT Exam
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
Math of the World
It's a Math World for Animals
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
Human Body
Spit Power
What the appendix is good for
Flu Patrol
Invertebrates
Dragonflies
Bedbugs
Roundworms
Mammals
Tigers
Basset Hounds
Beagles
Parents
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Children and Media
How children learn
Physics
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
The Particle Zoo
Plants
A Change in Leaf Color
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Underwater Jungles
Reptiles
Box Turtles
Pythons
Snapping Turtles
Space and Astronomy
Unveiling Titan
Tossing Out a Black Hole Life Preserver
Icy Red Planet
Technology and Engineering
Space Umbrellas to Shield Earth
Drawing Energy out of Wastewater
Model Plane Flies the Atlantic
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Preposition?
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Where rivers run uphill
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Weather
Catching Some Rays
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
Recipe for a Hurricane
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™