When You Move House, Your Microbial Aura Moves Too

As I type these words at my desk, I’m seeding my house with bacteria. I touch the desk, the light switch, the coffee mug, and the microbes on my hands now coat these objects. I absent-mindedly swish my foot across the floor, and I leave microbes there too. I scratch my head, ejecting a cloud of microbes into the air. You do this too. We all do. We constantly sign the places around us with the microscopic parts of ourselves.

Our bodies are home to trillions of microbes, which outnumber our own cells by at least a factor of three. They and the genes they contain are collectively known ...

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