Me and my microbiome

Tina Hesman Saey tries out new services offering clients a peek at their own bacteria

12:25pm, January 7, 2014

MY MICROBES  Reporter Tina Hesman Saey’s microbiome sequence revealed Haemophilus bacteria (H. influenzae shown), some of which are known respiratory pathogens.

I first suspected I might be inhabited by traitors when I read a research paper linking gut bacteria to obesity. I was a newspaper reporter in St. Louis in 2006 when local researchers in Jeffrey Gordon’s lab at Washington University found that the mix of bacteria in the gut can help determine whether a mouse is lean or obese. I’ve been writing about the microbiome — the microbes that inhabit the body — ever since.

As an obese person, I’ve always suspected that I have fat microbes. But it’s also possible that my bacteria are lean and my genetics, diet and lack of exercise are holding them back from revealing my inner skinny person.

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