New Study Shows New York City has “Uptown” Rats and “Downtown” Rats

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Some of those New York City rats just won’t go below 14th street.

According to a new study from Fordham University, it’s because of their DNA. Rats in NYC have two distinguishable sets of DNA: “Uptown” and “Downtown.” They are separated by the “geographic barrier that is midtown.”

Matthew Combs, a Fordham University Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station grad student, worked on the study with colleagues discovering the disparity in the DNAs, They figured out that you could know where the rats were born and raised. The study found that midtown still had rats, but less living and breeding there as there is less trash for food and less hospitable places like backyards to live.


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Combs studied the rats over two years and even began to respect the dirty critters. Speaking with The Atlantic he said, “They are, quote-unquote, vermin, and definitely pests we need to get rid of, but they are extraordinary in their own ways.”

Read the entire study here.

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