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Dirt Don’t Hurt: How Environmental DNA in Urban Soil Could Save Lives

Researchers reported yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that soil bacteria in New York City parks produce molecules similar to antibiotics, anticancer agents, and other drugs in current use.  Talk about taking dirt to a new level!

From analyzed soil samples in New York City boroughs, environmental DNA (eDNA) was extracted from the soil they found that NYC park bacteria contain sequences that likely encode molecules similar to existing antibiotics, antifungal and antiparasitic medications, immunosuppressants, and anticancer drugs.

What’s interesting is how urban park soil microbiomes rich in natural product biosynthetic diversity could potentially be used to treat illness and disease.  And maybe, just maybe, they will be better suited for our bodies than synthetic, chemical based medicines.

Read more here.

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