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Crowdsourced Microbes Heading to Station

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Microbiome meets big social science: What’s the potential?

Over the last decade or so, biologists have mustered an ever-growing appreciation for the essential role of microbial communities in a diversity of environments.

“We’re recognizing that the biosphere is run by microbes at every level,” notes UW-Madison Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology Margaret McFall-Ngai. “They are the pivotal, central players in the health of the planet.”

They are also, of course, essential protagonists in human health. In the average human gut, for example, three pounds of microorganisms, mostly bacteria representing hundreds of species, churn in symbiotic harmony to keep us healthy and robustly functional.

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