Researchers Have Mapped The Microorganisms In The NYC Subway, And Don’t Know What Half Of Them Are


As DNA sequencing improves and we develop a stronger grasp of the tiny worlds that surround us, we learn two things. One, about the subtle bonds between tiny little creatures that make up our world, and two, that the New York City subway system should just be cleaned with flamethrowers, because dear God, it’s disgusting down there.

First off, as the Mary Sue points out, researchers don’t even know half of what the hell’s down there. Research teams tested bacteria from 466 subway stations, and found over 15,000 species, most of which were fortunately completely harmless. But “unidentified” made up a big portion of that, so we’re not ruling out the Marburg virus or something.

The second, is this amusing and disgusting interactive map made by the Wall Street Journal, telling you which stops had such charming diseases as dysentery, meningitis, and the ever-popular urinary tract infections. Particularly common appears to be the bacterium that causes heart-valve infections, Enterococcus gallinarum. Finally, proof, as if we needed it, that riding the MTA might actually break your heart.