NY Teens Discover New Species of Cockroach

Monday, December 28, 2009

Two Trinity High School students have apparently discovered a new species of cockroach. Matt Cost, 18, and classmate Brenda Tan, 17, collected samples of household items for a DNA analysis project with Rockefeller University and the American Museum of Natural History. But the large dead roach they sampled turned out to be a genetic surprise.

'The bug person at the Museum of Natural History told us just by looking at it that it was a normal American cockroach,' Cost says. 'But when we compared the DNA it's four percent different from any of the other specimens on the databases.'

The teens also learned that sturgeon caviar they tested actually came from Mississippi paddlefish. The scientists they collaborated with are using what's called DNA barcoding to identify species cheaply and easily based on a snippet of genetic code.

In all, they found one in six of the 66 food items they tested had been mislabeled.


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