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Circumcision dramatically alters the penis microbiome

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"Like rolling back a rock and seeing the ecosystem change," says the lead author of a study in mBio this week. It's a classical experiment in grade school ecology, except that the ecosystem is the microbiome of the human penis. And the "rock" is the foreskin, removed in adulthood for the sake of preventing HIV infection.
In the study, Liu et al. show that circumcision drastically alters the microbiome of the penis, changes that could explain why circumcision offers protection against HIV and other viral infections. Researchers from the Translational Genomics Research Institute and other institutions studied the effects of adult male circumcision on the types of bacteria that live under the foreskin before and after circumcision. By one year post-procedure, the total bacterial load in that area had dropped significantly and the prevalence of anaerobic bacteria declined while the numbers of some aerobic bacteria increased slightly.
Click on the source link to read more on mBio's blog, mBiosphere...
 
 

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