We all have tiny communities of organisms living on our skin, and the more time you spend together, the more you and your partner will share.
So, you’re living together. Congrats! Or, maybe you’ve been doing this for the past 25 years, in which case…congrats! You’re still at it.
It’s amazing how your life can become intertwined with your partner’s. Couples share so many things- the house, the car, the kids, maybe “the bicycle”, the toilet (unfortunately!), dessert and now science is saying…your microbiomes. Yes, couple-dome can actually go that far.
How? According to microbial ecologists at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, the people you live with significantly influence the microbes living on your skin.
Scientists call these “microbial communities”, and it’s a little creepy to think of millions of tiny bugs living in bug cities all over you, but they say that couple’s individual microbiomes are so similar that computers can detect co-habiting romantic partners. And it’s not just sometimes…they can do it with an 86% accuracy rate.
Interestingly, researchers found the strongest similarities are between partners’ feet.
Graduate student Josh Neufeld, who worked on the study, explains it.
“In hindsight, it makes sense. You shower and walk on the same floor barefoot. This process likely serves as a form of microbial exchange with your partner, and also with your home itself.”
Where were partners the most different, microbially speaking? On either side of the nose. It seems that your nose is a mountain with an identity all its own.
Researchers completed the study in a quest to learn if our skin microorganisms can co-evolve with their hosts over a period of time. To date, that remains to be seen but what IS certain is that whatever is making her feet smelly can certainly slip over onto your feet, too.
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