There is an interesting and important paper out in Microbiology: Hand Bacterial Communities Vary Across Two Different Human Populations by Denina Hospodsky, Amy J. Pickering, Timothy R. Julian , Dana Miller, Sisira Gorthala, Alexandria B. Boehm, and Jordan Peccia. This paper is important for many reasons including the following:
- They found significant variation in the communities found on the hands of people from Tanzania vs. those from the US
- The study focused on the hands of women – this is in particular interesting in light og the recent call for more research using females as study subjects in animals. See for example this NY Times article Labs Are Told to Start Including a Neglected Variable: Females
- The paper is one of only a few where the human skin microbiome has been compared in detail between human populations.
- The authors point out that “Future work should investigate causal mechanisms influencing the hand microbiome with a focus on documentation of relative abundances of organisms that are derived from contact with the environment versus organisms that are part of the active microbial ecology.” Thus studies of the hand microbiome are perhaps in particular connected to the microbiome of the environment where people spend their time.
Anyway – definitely worth a look