Our microbial communities provide snapshots of those with whom we have lived, the diversity of our daily habits, as well as the impact of our changing lifestyles. For example, our guts are homes to our largest collection of microbes, where the number of microbial cells is measured in terms of tens of trillions. Gut microbial communities in humans are shared among family members and underscore the long-lasting impact of our interpersonal relationships. Common as well as distinct features in gut communities are being documented among populations representing varied “cultural traditions” and geographical locations. The breathtaking rate of change in food availability and preparation methods, the expansive movement of human populations, the rapid proliferation of technology, and the ubiquitous use of antibiotics emphasize the importance of studying the microbiological heritage of humans, just as we study our genetic, linguistic, and cultural heritages.The BacterioSphere has no loose ends.
donderdag 16 mei 2013
Bacteria as material culture
In a paper published in April 2012 Benezra, DStefano and Gordon argue for the foundation of an 'Anthropology of microbes'. Taking a step further from a) the notion that we humans are really a symbiotic supraorganism of humans and microbes and b) that this synthesis bring about "intra- and interpersonal variation of these species and gene assemblages as a function of body habitat, age, physiologic status, and family relationships." The insight that results is the idea that microbial variation is another facet of what informs/creates kinship and culture. Qoute: