Genetic Diversity of New York City Cockroaches

National Cockroach Project


High school students and other citizen scientists collecting and helping analyze American cockroaches using DNA barcoding.


Genetic diversity is a window into evolution and patterns of migration. American cockroaches originated in Africa and hitchhiked around the world on commercial goods. This project asks:
  • Do American cockroaches differ genetically between cities?
  • Do US genetic types match those in other parts of the world?
  • Are there genetic types that represent undiscovered look-alike species?

National Cockroach Project Needs Your Help To Study The Genetic Diversity Of These Insects

Led by Mark Stoeckle, Daniel Kronauer and Christoph von Beeren with the aid of Hunter College High School student Joyce Xia, the National Cockroach Project has already learned a lot about the genetic diversity of New York City cockroaches, the Wall Street Journal reports. Cockroaches in the city do not have a lot of genetic diversity, according to the researchers, with 90 percent of cockroaches from Staten Island coming from the same gene pool, and with 80 percent reported for cockroaches from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, WSJ notes.