The activities, habits, foods, and travel history of people are represented by genetic and biochemical traces left behind on our bodies and phones, but also everywhere else that we touch. Emerging research in genomics, microbiomes, and systems biology have shown that we can examine these data for discovery, forensics, and a novel characterization of the genetic dynamics of homes, cities, and international gatherings.
During the JP Morgan Health Summit in 2017, we used methods for studying international urban metagenomics (MetaSUB) to find out what is “StuckOnU.” With the generous collaboration of the Illumina Accelerator laboratories, and their next-generation sequencing infrastructure, we examined the phones of attendees from the meeting. We investigated how much information can be inferred from just swabbing and sequencing a person’s phone.
Here we present the results from a 48-hour experiment during the meeting, as well as the algorithms, code, and scripts for generating all of the figures used in our analysis. Website
Using the DNA fragments on a surface it is possible to predict what kind of microorganisms might be present. Although this method is limited by the current knowledge of profiled microorganisms and neither comprehensive nor 100% accurate, it gives an overview of the diversity of the species present on a surface, alive or dead.
This figure shows what the algorithm predicted to be present from the DNA along with the DNA abundances (not necessarily abundance of the organism). Each concentric circle goes deeper into taxonomic classification.
Certain species may have snippets of information we have about the organism, overlay the outermost circle to see.
Using the data from the NIH Human Microbiome Project we try to classify the microorganisms to the different communities of microbiota found in or on humans.
Here we show the relative abundance of DNA matching a selection of animals and plants or their close relatives.
The DNA leftover by humans can be used to trace back certain information such as their ancestries. Since a surface might have DNA from multiple individuals this is not as accurate compared to a genetic test and only gives an overview. Here we show a predicted ancestry if enough human DNA is found on the surface.