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They Have Teeny-Tiny Suitcases

Do gut microbes migrate? That what one microbiologist asked his colleagues at the International Human Microbiome Congress in Paris in March, says Veronique Greenwood at the 80beats blog. The University of Toronto's James Scott made a presentation on the gut microbiomes of babies, and said that he found the same microbes in the babies' poop as in the dust in their homes. "It's not clear whether this means that bacteria in the dust are colonizing the babies or vice versa — or both — but it's still something of a surprise," Greenwood says. "Gut microbes don't seem like the sort to thrive outside the body, as they tend to require an oxygen-free environment."

The implication of this finding, she adds, is that other people in the home could pick up microbes from each other. This could be tested by sequencing the gut microbiomes of people living in the same house and comparing them to strangers' microbiomes. "There's also room to speculate that as we learn more about the microbiome's relationship to disease, the swapping of microbes within a household could reveal an infectious component to illnesses that we don't currently think of that way," Greenwood says. "It's just a speculation now, but an interesting one."

The Scan

Vaccine Update Recommended

A US Food and Drug Administration panel recommends booster vaccines be updated to target Omicron, CNBC reports.

US to Make More Vaccines for Monkeypox Available

The US is to make nearly 300,000 vaccine doses available in the coming weeks to stem the spread of human monkeypox virus, according to NPR.

Sentence Appealed

The Associated Press reports that Swedish prosecutors are appealing the sentence given to a surgeon once lauded for transplanting synthetic tracheas but then convicted of causing bodily harm.

Genome Biology Papers on COVID-19 Effector Genes, Virtual ChIP-seq, scDART

In Genome Biology this week: proposed COVID-19 effector genes, method to predict transcription factor binding patterns, and more.