New Delhi, Aug 14: A government study has reportedly found traces of DNA footprints of at least 78-disease causing micro-organisms on Rs 10, Rs 20 and Rs 100 notes.
The study conducted by scientists from Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research collected currency notes as samples for their study from street vendors, grocery shops and local market places of South Delhi, as per an Indian Express report.
The purpose of the study was to see how currency notes often spread diseases. S Ramachandran, who led a group of five students for the study told the daily that “To be sure, the study only looked at finding traces of DNA. So we know what kind of organisms could have been on these notes. We do not know whether these organisms have the ability to infect people with the disease because we did not study that aspect. But what we can certainly say is that there is a possibility of diseases spreading through this manner because the microbes do actually travel through currency notes”. They mostly found fungi in their samples, but also found presence of bacteria which can cause tuberculosis, dysentery and ulcers.
This is not the first time that studies like these have been conducted. Earlier studies looked at identifying organisms on furniture, clothes, soaps and even computers using a technology called Ribosomal RNA typing. But what makes their study peculiar is that they have used a different technology. “We have used a different technology, high-throughput DNA sequencing, for our study. This is a relatively new technology and much more powerful. Using this technology, we can extract lots of information even from a very small amount of DNA material. The other benefit of this method is that even those microbes which cannot be cultured can be detected,” Ramachandran added.
After the organisms were identified using the DNA sequencing technology, the results were put through a bio-informatics algorithm wherein they reportedly found some antibiotic resistant genes. They said that a person to be infected by the gene would develop resistance to certain antibiotics.
As they found the results to be eye-opening, they want to take the study further and assess the diseases that spread from currency notes.
2015 Kashmir Despatch