My country, my microbes

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The microbes on your hands could reveal where you live, according to work by Yale researchers published in May in Microbiology. Analysis of bacteria on the hands of women in Tanzania and the United States showed that U.S. participants had more distinct species, while women in Tanzania had 11 times more bacteria per square centimeter of skin. The findings reinforce the role of the environment in the development of the microbiome. “How and where we interact with the environment affects our skin microbiota—which, for hands, can vary dramatically between groups,” said Jordan Peccia, Ph.D., professor of environmental engineering and the project’s principal investigator.