Microbial companions of humans and animals are highly specialized

Microbiome-Project“Humans and animals are never alone. Everyone is host to over two thousand different species of microbes, of which most colonize our bodies only after we are born. One would assume that the generalists among them have an advantage. Zoologists from the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Basel have now shown that the opposite is the case. Microbial communities living on humans and animals are mostly dominated by specialists.

“It has long been known that almost all organisms have microbial companions. However, only about ten years ago did researchers find out that these bacterial communities are extremely rich in species. Humans and other mammals are often hosts to several thousand species, and even minute organisms like water fleas can carry over one hundred species. This knowledge only became available by the use of genetic methods, that allowed researchers to sequence all genes of a single ecosystem (for example of the human intestine) at once. Data resulting from this method was also analyzed for the new study of the research group of Dieter Ebert, Zoologist from the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Basel.”  Source: phys.org

GR:  In my recent blog (We Are Not Alone!), I was writing about the big creatures we see around us. However, we should also be aware of and concerned for the smaller creatures living in us, on us, and around us.

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