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Scientists might be able to keep tabs on the world’s flora and fauna by analysing DNA floating through the air. That’s the conclusion of a study published on 5 June in Current Biology1, in which a team identified more than 180 types of organism, including plants, fungi, insects and animals, using DNA captured by filters from air-pollution monitoring stations. The researchers say that, because of the ubiquity of such stations, the method could transform the monitoring of biodiversity on Earth, and might even be able to detect rare species.