John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Ten random things: February 13

Ten previously unknown species of bacteria discovered during a molecular analysis of human forearm superficial skin bacterial biota:

  1. Deinococcis AE002076
  2. Prevotella L16476
  3. Blastococcus AY234675
  4. Mesorhizobium AP003001
  5. Xanthomonadaceae AJ619045
  6. Dermacoccus AF409025
  7. Acidaminococcaceae AF481209
  8. Hymenobacter D84607
  9. Anaerococcus Y07841
  10. Paracraurococcus AF443585

astrablue, this one's for you. From yesterday's Washington Post:

Hold out your hand, with the palm facing skyward. Pull the sleeve of your shirt up to your elbow. Now take a look at the fleshy part of your arm, about halfway between your wrist and your elbow. What do you see?

Nothing, probably.

But that's not what Martin J. Blaser of New York University School of Medicine sees. With the help of the latest scientific tools, Blaser sees a complex, microscopic world teeming with a vast array of microorganisms.

"The skin is home to a virtual zoo," said Blaser, a microbiologist who last week published online the first molecular analysis of the bacteria living on one small patch of human skin. "We're just beginning to explore it."

The analysis revealed that human skin is populated by a diverse assortment of bacteria, including many previously unknown species, offering the first detailed peek at this potentially crucial ecosystem.


Blaser's team swabbed an area of skin about the size of silver dollar on the right and left forearms of three healthy men and three healthy women. They then used sophisticated molecular techniques to amplify and analyze fragments of bacterial DNA captured by the swabs.

The analysis revealed 182 species, the researchers reported. Of those, 30 had never been seen. They identified an additional 65 species when they sampled four of the volunteers eight to 10 months later, including 14 new species.

The full article can be found at, along with a complete list of the 192 species of bacteria found during the study. The study itself can be read online too, but only if you subscribe to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online.


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