'Aerial metagenomics’ best refers to which one of the following situations?


05:23 AM

UPSC Prelims 2023 Question:

'Aerial metagenomics’ best refers to which one of the following situations?

a) Collecting DNA samples from air in a habitat at one go

b) Understanding the genetic makeup of avian species of a habitat

c) Using air-borne devices to collect blood samples from moving

d) Sending drones to inaccessible areas to collect plant and animal samples from land surfaces and water bodies

Correct Answer: Option a)

Learn more about Metagenomics from the given explanation below.


  • Aerial metagenomics" typically refers to the study of genetic material (such as DNA or RNA) collected from the air, usually in the form of airborne particles or aerosols. It involves analysing the microbial communities present in the air and characterising their genetic diversity.
  • Ecologists have thought of this, and it certainly works for things like animal droppings. But these, too, must first be detected and collected—and they will identify only the animal that dropped them.

What is Metagenomics?

  • Metagenomics is the study of microbes in their natural living environment, which involves the complex microbial communities in which they usually exist.
  • The study examines the genomic composition of an entire organism, including each of the microbes that exist within it. It facilitates direct sequencing of patient samples, removing the need for prior knowledge of the infectious agent.
  • For instance, a single gram of soil consists of 4000 to 5000 different species of microbes, while human intestines consist of 500 different types of bacteria.
  • It enables us to understand the diversity, abundance, and interaction of microbes in any system.
  • It is different from conventional sequencing methods, which requires culturing or isolating individual species before sequencing their genomes.

Therefore, option (a) is the correct answer.

Subject: Science & Technology | Recent Developments

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