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Microbiome. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of bacteria cultured from a fingertip. There are around 1000 species of bacteria from 19 phyla found on human skin. Skin flora is usually non-pathogenic, and either commensal (not harmful to their host) or mutualistic (offer a benefit). One benefit bacteria can offer is preventing transient pathogenic organisms from colonizing the skin surface, either by competing for nutrients, secreting chemicals against them, or stimulating the skin's immune system. However, resident microbes can cause skin diseases and enter the blood system, creating life-threatening diseases, particularly in immunosuppressed people. Magnification: x3000 when printed at 10cm wide.

New ‘reverse genomics’ method brings previously hidden bacteria to life

In the past decade, increasingly powerful genetic techniques have found hordes of microbial DNA in everything from the human gut to a scoop of seawater.…

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Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria. Colored scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria with a neutrophil, a type of white blood cell involved in defense against bacterial infections. K. pneumoniae is one of several bacteria that can cause pneumonia (lung inflammation). It causes a severe form that can be a complication of chronic lung diseases. K. pneumoniae is also a multidrug-resistant bacterium that can cause severe hospital-acquired infections.

Microbe that got man drunk could help explain common liver disease

A man in China who, after eating high-carbohydrate or sugary meals, became so intoxicated that he blacked out, has led researchers to discover strains of…

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He Jiankui presented a slide at a Hong Kong, China, genome-editing summit that showed DNA sequences from the edited CCR5 genes in the twin girls.   NATIONAL ACADEMIES/FLICKR (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Did CRISPR help—or harm—the first-ever gene-edited babies?

This story, one in a series, was supported by the Pulitzer Center. Since the gene-edited babies known as Lulu and Nana became international news in…

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