Humans colonize their homes with microbes, not the other way around

Microbes are everywhere. They live on and inside us, and cover most things we come into contact with, including our personal belongings. We also know that microbes play a role in human health, and the destruction of our personal microbial community (known as our microbiome) is thought to be contributing to the rapid rise of certain diseases.

The research shows humans affect the microbial populations of their surroundings rather than the other way around.

Studying the dynamics of microbial transmission revealed that, more often than not, humans are the microbial vectors, or transporters. When we move into a new house, rather than acquire microbes from the new location, we bring our unique microbial profile with us.

Andrew Holmes, a microbial ecologist from the University of Sydney, said the results indicate microbial communities on household surfaces are “ecologically inert.” Rather than harboring actively growing microbes, he said, surfaces “are continually reloaded with what you had already growing in and on you.

“To put it another way: We inoculate the house, rather than the house inoculating us,“ he said.

Read the full, original story: All happy families are microbially alike

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