A2-Microbes in the News

Title: “Microbes, A Love Story” by Moises Velasquez-Manoff

Article Link:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/opinion/sunday/microbes-a-love-story.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FMicrobiology&action=click&contentCollection=science&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=7&pgtype=collection

Source: NY Times

Date: February 10th, 2017

Summary: Apparently our unique microbiome can make us more attractive to certain individuals. Susan Erdman, a researcher at M.I.T., had given a probiotic to female mice that is naturally found in human breast milk. This resulted in female mice with abnormally lustrous fur and male mice with abnormally high testosterone levels. The levels of a protein called interleukin 10 also went up in these female mice when given the probiotic; this protein helps ensure successful pregnancy. By helping hosts, it is possible that microbes are ensuring their own legacy by interacting with the microbiome of the host’s partner.

Connections: Strongly related to the human microbiome lecture. Unique flora can result in unique characteristics between individuals.

Critical Analysis: I thought that this article was incredibly interesting; I never would have thought of our microbiome playing a role in attracting a partner.

Question: Could safe studies like that done on the mice be pursued in relation to the human microbiome and attraction between partners?

1 Comment for “A2-Microbes in the News”



I think safe studies (not experiments) relating to this could be done. What about a study comparing the microbial biomes of married couples. The study could correlate number of years together/happiness with differences or similarities in the couple’s microbial flora. They stated in an article that attraction was correlated with very different microbiomes. Maybe couples who had been married for a long time with continuing happiness. Human experiment would probably not be very ethical though.