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And they’re writing the first drafts of a new chapter in archaeological research.
They’ve also seen a rise in the incidence of chronic disease: cardiovascular ailments, autoimmune disorders such as asthma and allergies, and metabolic disease such as obesity and diabetes.Those chambers are free of anything extraneous: Only sample vials and scientific equipment are visible.The DNA and proteins that the researchers work with there come from ancient microbes, and keeping the lab free of contamination is a tall order in a world that is positively swimming with their modern counterparts.The microbes that are the focus of the LMAMR—from both ancient and modern sources, with separate lab facilities for each—come from what is known as the human microbiome, the myriad communities of bacteria (as well as eukaryotes, viruses, and archaea) that reside in and on our bodies.
In only the last few years researchers have begun to understand that studying how the microbiome has shifted over thousands of years, particularly at moments of great change in human history, has the potential to reveal some of the ways in which how we eat, live, and move around the world have affected human biology.
Alongside them, throughout your gut, in your mouth, on your skin, there are even more—40 trillion, give or take—individual bacteria.