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Crowdsourced Microbes Heading to Station

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A Passing Thought

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In the celebrated novel The Rebel Angels, the famed Canadian author Robertson Davies mentions Ozias Froats, a fictional professor potentially on his way to a Nobel Prize for discovering that everyone’s feces reflect the maker’s personality. He did not have today’s ready recourse to metagenomics (that being still in the future), so he looked at "extremely thin slices of faeces, cut transversely, and examined microscopically and under special light.” He found that each person’s specimen reveals differences in individual temperament. It occurred to me that using this same approach could add another dimension to fecal metagenomics by determining the intra-turd location of individual species. This could readily be visualized using specific fluorescent-labeled antibodies on thin sections—merely a technical elaboration on Froats’ methods.

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