Blaser and his colleagues have published several studies of bacteria that they found on the human forearm. "We began to use molecular methods several years ago, and we continue to do that," he said. "This work is much more comprehensive that ours were, because the tools are more powerful."
Though the new study can be described as basic science, "the identification of complex microbiota is important if one considers many inflammatory diseases of the skin," Blaser said.
His group has just received a National Institutes of Health grant to study the relationship between skin bacteria and psoriasis, Blaser said. "This paper has a lot of fundamental information that is of use to us," he said.
The University of Maryland has more on skin bacteria.
SOURCES: Julia A. Segre, Ph.D., senior investigator, U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, Md.; Martin Blaser, M.D., chairman, medicine, and microbiologist, New York University; May 28, 2009, Science