FIRST AIRED: December 20, 2016

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>> The cure for cancer maybe a dirty science, hidden in plain view. That's the thinking driving these researchers, likely mistaken for gardeners as they dig in New York City's public parks. What they're hoping to find is bacteria used in antibiotics and cancer-curing agents.>> Maybe we don't have to go to these rare environments or environments that are endangered to go find some of these molecules, that you can just find them in simple places like parks in New York City.
>> In fact, more than half of all modern medicine is derived in some way from bacteria. So using modern advances in genome sequencing, scientists are now parsing molecules of this plain old local dirt in ways they never could.>> Now that we can sequence into all of these bacteria that we can't culture, or we don't know what's going on in their genomes, it means we can make much deeper searches.
And it suggests there is far more diversity even in our backyard than we thought in the past.>> Researchers at the Rockefeller University in New York City looked at 275 soil samples taken from Central Park in Manhattan, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and parks all across Staten Island. Samples will then be analyzed by a drug discovery company funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
>> The hope is to produce breakthroughs that lead to new drugs. That means these scientists are more than happy to get their hands a little dirty.