Over the years, as I’ve learned about the microbes that help keep us healthy, some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had about the microbiome have been with Martin Blaser. He’s a microbiologist at the New York School of Medicine, where he and his colleagues have found tantalizing links between the diversity of microbes in people’s bodies and medical conditions ranging from asthma to obesity. While those results are preliminary, they’ve led Blaser to worry about the long-term consequences of our torrid love affair with antibiotics. As we overdose on antibiotics to kill bad germs, we may be driving some good germs extinct.
In the latest issue of Wired, I interview Blaser about his work. And if you want to find out more, his new book, Missing Microbes, has just been published. It’s an excellent look at one of the most intriguing fields of biology today.