- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
ScienceShot: Forget Fingerprints, Now There's 'Breathprints'
3 April 2013 5:15 pm
What makes your body different from everyone else's? Maybe you're thinking fingerprints or the DNA that you leave on everything you touch. Now, add your breath to that list. Researchers have found that individuals have unique "breathprints" that change throughout the day and that reflect chemical reactions going on in the body. In the new study, reported today in PLOS ONE, volunteers blew air into a mass spectrometer (pictured), which split the exhalation into its chemical components. Unlike older methods, which required samples to be prepared and then injected into the machine, the device used in this study can directly accept breath and show the results in seconds. The researchers found that individuals' breathprints changed slightly from sample to sample, but always kept a core signature that was unique enough to identify that person. That means that a breathprint reflects what's going on in a person's body and isn't just a random sampling of room air, they conclude. In the future, the authors say that such a technique could reveal the drugs you've been taking or biomarkers of diseases such as cancer. Smaller versions of the machine shown above could make their way into doctors' offices and could be used to detect doping at races without sending samples to a lab.
See more ScienceShots.