Wild Life in Your Home

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Matt Shippman, NCSU News Service

They’re out there. Creatures you can’t see. Creatures you can’t hear. They’re living in your home: on your doorstep, under your bed – even in your refrigerator. Science doesn’t even know what some of them are. But we want to find out.

It may sound like the premise of a horror movie, but it’s actually an excellent scientific question. What sort of wild life lives all around us, every day? To date, little research has been done on the microscopic bacteria, fungi and other organisms that share our homes. But Rob Dunn, an associate professor of biology at NC State, is trying to change that.

Dunn is the driving force behind the “Wild Life of Your Home” project, which is asking volunteers from around the country to take swabs of dust from different areas around the house and send them in. Researchers will then use high-throughput genetic sequencing technology to determine exactly which species are found in each home.

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