Planet Earth

Time for a Da Vinci Upgrade [The Microbiome Image of the Day]

The LoomBy Carl ZimmerOct 3, 2010 6:42 PM

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I've been invited to give a few talks in the wake of my article in the New York Times on the microbiome, and so I'm prowling for beautiful images that drive home the fact that we are microbial rain forests, rather than sterile mammals. Below is my favorite image of the day. It's from a survey of microbes across people's bodies, published last year in Science. The inner circle shows the major lineages of bacteria found in all the subjects in each part of the body, while the ring shows the ones found in some people but not others. This picture was stuffed away in the supplementary materials for the paper, so I missed it the first time around. I'm glad I found it--it's a new Vitruvian man for our microbiomic age.

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