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The Boston Globe


Innovation Economy

Be warned, bacteria: We’re putting you to work

I am writing this not for you, but for the trillions of bacteria living in you and on you: Bacteria, we know your names, and we intend to dominate you.

Yes, it is a daunting and complex mission. You hide in our mouths, on our skin, and deep inside our digestive tract. But just as we cracked the human genome and have begun to sleuth out the genetic basis of many diseases, we intend to crack the microbiome — the collection of bacteria and other organisms that colonize the human body — and understand how killing some of you and increasing the numbers of others can keep us healthier. Let’s hope you fall into that second group, for your sake.

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