Stein writes that swabbing the forearms of three healthy men and three healthy women "revealed that human skin is populated by a diverse assortment of bacteria, including many previously unknown species, offering the first detailed peek at this potentially crucial ecosystem.
"The work is part of a broader effort by a small coterie of scientists to better understand the microbial world that populates the human body. Virtually every orifice and the digestive tract are swarming with bacteria, fungi and other microbes. By some estimates, only one out of every 10 cells in the body is human. "
The analysis by New York University's Martin Blaser found 182 species of microorganisms, of which 30 had never been seen before. Months later, a swab of four of the six volunteers found 65 more species, 14 of them heretofore unknown, and some of the old ones long gone. So when it comes to the symbiosis between microbes and humans, the cliché must be turned on its head because, now, forearmed is forewarned.