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'Microbial Wildlife Managers'

More than a dozen studies on the human microbiome were published last week by groups across the US participating in the Human Microbiome Project. Now, researchers are taking that information and using it as part of a new approach to health called "medical ecology," says Carl Zimmer at The New York Times. "Rather than conducting indiscriminate slaughter [with antibiotics], [National Human Genome Research Institute senior investigator Julie] Segre and like-minded scientists want to be microbial wildlife managers," Zimmer says. This involves changing the body's microbial ecosystem — nurturing the beneficial bacteria while weeding out the bacteria associated with disorders like obesity and diabetes. Studies like those recently published by the HMP go a long way toward bolstering this idea of medical ecology and helping researchers figure out how to do it, Zimmer adds. Further, this kind of research could help clinicians not only maintain healthy microbiomes, but also restore damaged ones destroyed by an overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics.

The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.