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Science: Health: Genetics
DNA sense   (0)  [vote for, against]

As has been stated elsewhere, //In another 5-10 years, it should also be possible to do full on- the-spot genome analysis on a mouth swab or mouth rinse//(1). It's only a small step beyond that to having devices constantly 'sniff' the DNA cloud we all leave behind us, perform instant analysis on it, and convert its findings into another human 'sense', telling us new and surprising (and incredibly intrusive and embarrassing) things about the people we meet.

(1) Buchanan, Maxwell Ptolemy: Annotation on "Health evaluation", May 10th, 2018
-- hippo, May 10 2018

How on earth did you uncover my middle name? I was never completely happy about being partially named after my [great x 66] grandfather.

"Sniffing" would be tricky - we don't actually shed a lot of DNA. You're looking at dead skin cells, so you'd need to hoover up a reasonable volume of air. You'd also want quite a few of them (I'm guessing tens), since they're dead and their DNA will probably be shot. That said, there's enough DNA in the few skin cells in a fingerprint to recover forensic data.

It would definitely be possible, at present, to get a complete genome sequence from someone from a used glass or a cigarette butt. It would cost in the region of $1000* for a comprehensive (though not perfect) genome sequence. But at present it would take at least a few hours to get that data - probably a day. If Oxford Nanoporn's technology worked properly, you might get it down to a couple of hours, but it doesn't.

*Realistically, more. Sequencing would cost ~$1000, but you'd need to pay for some skilled time to recover and work up the DNA.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, May 10 2018

This could make speed-dating interesting. "Ooh, I see that you've got a defective 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 1E, I've also got one of those. The odds of us having kids with birth defects is way too high. Let's move on to the next tables, shall we?"
-- RayfordSteele, May 10 2018

The main Idea here describes something that actually could be more intrusive than having cameras everywhere. That's because image-recognition is less accurate than DNA recognition. If your DNA is on file somewhere, and sensors collecting DNA samples are everywhere, then that means no matter where you go, you can be tracked. (And think about what those sniffers might look like? Cameras are at least generally recognize-able!)
-- Vernon, May 10 2018

[Max] - I thought we breathed out quite a bit of DNA - is this not true?
-- hippo, May 10 2018

//I thought we breathed out quite a bit of DNA// If you cough, I daresay your DNA could be easily recovered from droplets of what molecular biologists refer to as "gunk". In normal breathing, though, I don't think you'll find any DNA; it's not volatile, and I don't think normal breathing produces aerosol droplets.

If you grabbed a microphone after someone had been talking or singing at it (preferably a song with lots of F's and P's in it; or anything in Welsh), you could probably get their DNA off the mike (along with that of previous users).
-- MaxwellBuchanan, May 10 2018

//named after my [great x 66] grandfather.// the Pt notation could also be "Pterodactyl".
-- FlyingToaster, May 10 2018

//or anything in Welsh//

"Hi, are you new here?"


"Nice, so what part of Wales are you from?"
-- bs0u0155, May 10 2018


That can't be in welsh ... it contains vowels.
-- 8th of 7, May 10 2018

//How on earth did you uncover my middle name?// Just guesswork, but there are an infinite number of parallel universes in which I guessed wrong
-- hippo, May 10 2018

random, halfbakery