In DepthMicrobiology

Survey of archaea in the body reveals other microbial guests

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Science  24 Nov 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6366, pp. 983
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6366.983

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Summary

When you think of archaea—perhaps the most ancient life forms—extreme locations such as hot springs, alkaline lakes, and wastewater treatment plants likely come to mind. But those microbes are also at home, sometimes in large numbers, in the human nose, lungs, gut, and on the skin, microbiologists reported last week in mBio. Their survey is part of a growing push to look beyond the bacteria that make up the much-discussed microbiome to find other microbes that naturally inhabit the human body and may influence health and disease. A team adapted the polymerase chain reaction and other methods to spot their targets and isolated and characterized archaeal DNA from dozens of biopsies of human skin, lungs, noses, and guts, including intestinal tissue from people with inflammatory bowel disease.