NCBI ROFL: Did you hear about the penis microbiome? It's got lots of cocci.

By ncbi rofl | January 15, 2010 9:00 am

The effects of circumcision on the penis microbiome.

“METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We assessed the penile (coronal sulci) microbiota in 12 HIV-negative Ugandan men before and after circumcision… …Among the 42 unique bacterial families identified, Pseudomonadaceae and Oxalobactericeae were the most abundant irrespective of circumcision status. Circumcision was associated with a significant change in the overall microbiota (PerMANOVA p = 0.007) and with a significant decrease in putative anaerobic bacterial families (Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test p = 0.014)…. …[The] reduction in putative anaerobic bacteria after circumcision may play a role in protection from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.”


Next they should sequence the micropenis microbiome.

Thanks to Matt for today’s ROFL!

  • http://none seti

    aha, so those 0,…% something really counts? wow… I should really redefine my own scale. Just in case.
    And get a cut.
    Still just in case.

  • Noser

    seti: I think you might be misreading. Small p-value is bigger change [all else being equal]. Looking at the full article the actual magnitudes are substantial, some of them better than 2:1 ratios.

  • Frank OHara

    Strange thing, if they tested women, they would find the exact same bacterial families in far greater quantities. That oven for loving you is just waiting to infect you guys and it doesn’t matter if you have the full johnson or not.


  • Hugh7

    The human body is covered in billions and billions of bacteria. Try and eliminate them and you’re asking for trouble (the good ones keep away the bad ones). The relevance of the bacteria on a small sample of Ugandan volunteers to the rest of us is … ? This seems to be just another attempt to demonise the foreskin and promote non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision. The clue is the name of Ronald Gray among the researchers. He is one of a small number of very active circumcision advocates who have published most of the recent flurry of studies claiming to show that circumcision is the best thing since sliced, um, bread. (The others include Daniel Halperin, Robert Bailey, Stefan Bailis, Stephen Moses, Malcolm Potts, Thomas Quinn, Helen Weiss, Brian Morris, Jeffrey Klausner, Edgar Schoen and Thomas Wiswell.) The motivation of some of them is less than scientific. Halperin is on record as thinking his descent from a ritual circumciser means “maybe I’m destined” to promote circumcision. Morris never saw a reason for circumcising he didn’t like and thinks “The Bathroom Splatter” and zipper injuries are good reasons for circumcising. Schoen has written poetry in praise of circumcision. I wouldn’t call it a “conspiracy”, but many of them have authored papers jointly, and their common interest seems to be in promoting circumcision, rather than any particular benefit.


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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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