A lower mean community variance for the “after-bout” points means that players’ skin micobiomes were more similar to one another after playing in a bout. Image: Meadow et al., PeerJ, 2013.
Game on! Scientists enter the roller derby!
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
Meet researchers from the University of Oregon. They study the skin microbiome. It’s the collection of protective bacteria that covers every inch of our hairless hides.
The throng differs from person to person. The scientists wondered, "Does skin-to-skin contact affect a person's microbiome?" They figured one way to study the question would be via a contact sport. And, in rainy Oregon, we're guessing an indoor rink seemed more appealing than an outdoor playing field.
So, at a roller-derby tournament, they swabbed the upper arms of players from three teams before and after each bout, or game.
What did DNA analysis of the swabs reveal? That players on the same team had more similar microbiomes than players from different teams. But, overall, each team's biomes had become more similar to the other teams' biomes after each bout than before. So bacteria were exchanged between teams.
As was a lot of trash talk! But that's another story.
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Thursday, from 2-3 p.m. on the LDOS blog: Sandra chats with author Po Bronson about his book NurtureShock.
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