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Skin microbiomes differ largely between cultures, more diverse sampling is needed

| May 14, 2014
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Microbial samples taken from populations living in the U.S. and Tanzania reveal that the microbiome of the human hand is more varied than previously thought, according to new research published in the journal Microbiology. These findings suggest that the ‘standard’ hand microbiome varies depending on location and lifestyle.

Results compared the microbes on the hands of women in the U.S. and Tanzania and found that organisms that have commonly been identified in prior human skin microbiome studies were highly abundant on U.S. hands, while the most abundant bacterial species on Tanzanian hands were associated with the environment, particularly soil.

The team of researchers from Yale University, Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, took hand wash samples from 15 adult American women and 29 adult Tanzanian women to compare the species of microorganisms present. In the U.S. group, all participants were graduate students, 13 of white European origin, while two were Chinese-American. In the Tanzanian group, all women were caregivers to children under 5 years of age, living in a low-income urban environment.

Read the full, original story: Human microbiome studies should include wider diversity of populations, experts warn

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