Animals

How Your City Has Its Own Unique Microbiome

Is it possible to tell what city you're from just by looking at your microbes? Researchers studying microbiomes say yes!

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Why Your Cellphone Has More Bacteria Than a Toilet Seat (LiveScience)
"Cellphones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats, so it shouldn't be surprising that a man in Uganda reportedly contracted Ebola after stealing one. He stole the phone from a quarantined ward of a hospital, near the site of a recent Ebola outbreak, reports said."

Geography and Location Are the Primary Drivers of Office Microbiome Composition (ASM Journals)
"In the United States, humans spend the majority of their time indoors, where they are exposed to the microbiome of the built environment (BE) they inhabit. Despite the ubiquity of microbes in BEs and their potential impacts on health and building materials, basic questions about the microbiology of these environments remain unanswered."

Mapping New York City's Microbiome, One Subway Station at a Time (Genome Web)
"A new project called PathoMap is exploring the microbiome of public spaces in New York City, starting with the subway system. The long-term goal of the effort, which is spearheaded by a research group at Weill Cornell Medical College and is still looking for funding, is to establish infrastructure for monitoring high-traffic areas in the city for potentially pathogenic microbes using next-gen sequencing, and to use those data in combination with other information to react quickly to public health threats."