In a new study led by microbiologists Rob Knight and Noah Fierer of the University of Colorado, Boulder, researchers swabbed three different keyboards and nine mice for bacteria, then compared the genomic variation between the communities to deduce whose hands had been touching what.
The people were clearly identifiable from the bacterial communities they’d transferred to their computer input devices.
The results are the latest to show the variety and complexity of the bacterial communities living in a variety of different human ecosystems like the gut, saliva and skin.
The Human Microbiome Project at the Institute for Genome Scientists is out to catalog and understand the relationships between our bacteria and ourselves. Early results suggest “our microbial partners may be essential for our survival as a species.”
Microbiome science is just a few years old. It was only in the middle of the decade that sequencing and computational technology became available to do this kind of work. Already, the work is beginning to rewrite what it means to be a human.
Read the complete article at: wired.com