The Ecological Diversity of Your Belly Button

You are a unique and special person. There's no one quite like you! Oh, other people have belly buttons. But only you can claim that particular combination of microbes that makes up the ecosystem in your belly button.

The Belly Button Biodiversity project began as a competition among scientists to see who has the most biodiverse navel. But it's now expanded to look at the amazing, living worlds hidden inside people's navels:

The navel is an ideal place for bacteria to thrive because it's isolated and most people don't bother to wash it. But what BBB wondered was, do the bacteria change from person to person?

BBB grew the bacteria from hundreds of swab samples and found that most people's belly button ecosystems are pretty unique. They found a total of 2368 types of bacteria, with 2188 present on fewer than 10 per cent of the samples.

Link -via Glenn Reynolds | Photo: oati

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