Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Would Anyone Care for a Spot of Tea?

Have you ever wondered what is actually in your tea? Well, three New York City high school students — Catherine Gamble, Rohan Kirpekar, and Grace Young — discovered that what's on the label isn't always what's in the brew, says Scientific American's Cynthia Graber. As part of the Urban Barcode Project set up by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's DNA Learning Center, the three students — aided by professional researchers — extracted and amplified DNA from 70 teas and 60 herbal teas sold by 33 different companies, originating in 17 countries, Graber says. Once the tea DNA was sequenced, the students compared the sequences with known sequences listed in the GenBank database, and found that 4 percent of the teas contained additional plant materials that weren't listed on their labels, and that a third of the herbal teas included unlisted products like the weeds bluegrass and white goosefoot. According to the study the students published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, four of the herbal mixes also contained relatives of parsley, and seven had chamomile in them, not listed on the label, Graber adds.

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.