The ultimate case of TMI: Behold my bellybutton's microbiome

By Carl Zimmer | January 25, 2011 9:00 am

Why is ScienceOnline a meeting like no other? Because it’s the sort of meeting where a biologist named Rob Dunn can set up shop in the lobby to ask for samples of bellybutton shmutz that he can analyze for biological diversity. Not only is it a place where such a person will not be hustled out by security, but it’s a place where a whole bunch of people respond by grabbing Q-tips to do their part for science. And you can bet every last bit of your bellybutton lint that I was right up near the front of the line.

Ten days later, my sample is now thriving nicely on a Petri dish, awaiting a more detailed analysis of its DNA. And here are the rest of the samples from the meeting.

All I can say is, #974, what is going on in there?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Microcosm: The Book

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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