Friday, April 15, 2011
The bellybutton, biodiversity reserve of the body
Although less recognized--and less glamourous--than most biodiversity hotspots, the human bellybutton harbours it own diverse collection of species, and these species tell us something about ourselves. That's the premise behind the Belly Button Biodiversity Project, which is getting some press for its large-scale sampling of bellybutton bacteria. For interesting discussion about where the data could lead, see Rob Dunn's (one of the researchers) website. His post, including the comments, hints at how much there is to learn about the ecology of human bacteria.
Update: Rob Dunn has now published a book "The Wild Life of Our Bodies", telling more stories of our changing relationships with other species.