Quick post: interesting article in Smithsonian on the human microbiome by Richard Conniff

Just q quick post here.  There is an interesting article about the human microbiome worth checking out: Microbes: The Trillions of Creatures Governing Your Health.  By Richard Conniff in Smithsonian Magazine. It also comes with some related videos and pictures. See for example http://player.ooyala.com/player.js?height=288&deepLinkEmbedCode=4zdTgwYjrLemfva768KtaJ1Lk_La8Ql1&width=512&embedCode=4zdTgwYjrLemfva768KtaJ1Lk_La8Ql1&video_pcode=VmM2U6ccX_RqI0rIzEgAxHoRsgRL and http://player.ooyala.com/player.js?height=288&deepLinkEmbedCode=41dTgwYjrKdXobNOQAlckTqHsXUsOKFk&width=512&embedCode=41dTgwYjrKdXobNOQAlckTqHsXUsOKFk&video_pcode=VmM2U6ccX_RqI0rIzEgAxHoRsgRL And it references my “Overselling the microbiome” award …

When a scientific team recently suggested that changes in gut bacteria could protect against stroke, Jonathan Eisen of the University of California at Davis lambasted them for “absurd, dangerous, self-serving claims that completely confuse the issue of correlation versus causation.” Eisen, a specialist in microbial genomics, now regularly presents “overselling the microbiome” awards on his blog. He says he doesn’t doubt the ultimate importance of the microbiome: “I believe the community of microbes that live in and on us is going to be shown to have major influences.” But believing that “is different from actually showing it, and showing it doesn’t mean that we have any idea what to do to treat it. There is danger here.”

And it even discusses a fecal transplant-like treatment called RePOOPulate. What could be better? Anyway – definitely worth checking out.

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

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