Human Microbiome Teems with Unexpected Diversity, an Overlooked 99%

06:41 EDT 23 Aug 2017 | Genetic Engineering News

The human microbiome has been surveyed before, but typically in piecemeal fashion—the gut here, the skin there. Consequently, some of the body’s microbial niches came to be well represented in genomic databases, whereas others remained in the dark. But now the uncounted microbes and viruses that had never been recognized before are coming to light, thanks to a new, unbiased survey, one that has sampled circulating cell-free DNA from the blood. The new survey, which effectively enabled sampling of the whole body, was undertaken by scientists based at Stanford University. These scientists report that by conducting a microbiome census that included both well-studied and previously ignored niches, they were able to show that our bodies contain vastly more diverse microbes than anyone previously understood. What's more, the overwhelming majority of those microbes have never been seen before, let alone classified and named. Survey details appeared August 22 ...

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