Nice to see our microbiome getting so much positive press these days. Unfortunately along with the good press, we have also seen the rise of the hucksters and scam artists using the term for their own benefit. They exploit the general public’s poor understanding of the science of microbiology and separate people from their money with lofty promises like “lose weight fast with the power of microbiomics” etc. Unfortunately some actual doctors and research scientists who should know better have gotten involved in this game. It is a similar crowd to the ones who publish book after book extolling the power of DNA to save and/or end your life through the magical influence of your diet and health on your DNA and vice versa. It’s the perfect recipe for interest and ultimately sales. Combine something people do not understand and cannot control (DNA) with a thing they love and/or hate, and patiently explain to them why it is their DNA’s fault and/or it is thanks to their DNA, that said thing is happening to them.The unlucky with “bad” DNA can then be sold whatever ridiculous approach the huckster things they will buy to fix their problem, and the lucky with “good” DNA get a nice boost of positive reinforcement and assurance that their family must have “good” genes. The microbiome can easily be substituted for DNA in this ugly little formula and has the added bonus of being (hypothetically at least) more controllable.

For anyone interested in learning and/or laughing about microbiomes and microbiomics I present a collection of links below.

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Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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