(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of scientists has discovered 174 new species of bacteria, four species of eukaryotes and 20 previously unknown giant phages on human skin.
Microorganisms, as you know, are the largest group of living things on Earth. They are found everywhere – from the oceans and soil to the human intestines. The microbiome of our skin is believed to play a key role in our skin health and is responsible for several conditions such as acne and eczema.
Scientists from the National Research Institute of the Human Genome, the European Bioinformatics Institute (UK), the Robert Koch Institute (Germany) and other scientific organizations decided to learn more about the human skin microbiome. They presented the findings of their research in the journal Nature Microbiology .
It was attended by 12 adult volunteers living in North America and without chronic diseases. The scientists took 594 scrapings from various areas of their skin. Using traditional laboratory cultivation with metagenomic sequencing, it was possible to create an expanded picture of the microbial genome of human skin – a collection of reference genomes of such a microbiome. The authors of the work found thousands of viral sequences, including many giant phages – very large viruses that infect bacteria.
Typically, these types of microorganisms were found on the arms and legs of volunteers. These areas of the body generally have an extremely diverse microbiome: this is understandable, because people most often come into contact with the environment with their limbs. In total, the researchers found 174 previously unknown species of bacteria, four new eukaryotes and 20 giant phages that they did not know. As a result, the study expanded the catalog of known skin bacteria by 26 percent.
“In addition to bacteria and viruses that we usually recover in metagenomics, we also found 12 genomes of unicellular eukaryotes – fungi like yeast. Some of these genomes were already known: Malassezia globosa , for example, associated with both healthy skin microbiomes and diseases like dandruff, ”said study participant Robert D. Finn of the European Bioinformatics Institute.
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