Suddenly, research findings require a paradigm shift in our view of the microbial world. The Human Microbiome Project at the National Institutes of Health is well under way, and unprecedented scientific technology now allows the censusing of trillions of microbes inside and on our bodies as well as in the places where we live, work, and play. This intriguing, up-to-the-minute book for scientists and nonscientists alike explains what researchers are discovering about the microbe world and what the implications are for modern science and medicine. Rob DeSalle and Susan Perkins illuminate the long, intertwined evolution of humans and microbes. They discuss how novel DNA sequencing has shed entirely new light on the complexity of microbe-human interactions, and they examine the potential benefits to human health: amazing possibilities for pinpoint treatment of infections and other illnesses without upsetting the vital balance of an individual microbiome.
Welcome to the Microbiome has been inspired by an exhibition, The Secret World Inside You: The Microbiome, at the American Museum of Natural History, which will open in New York in early November 2015 and run until August 2016. It will then travel to other museums in the United States and abroad.
Rob DeSalle is curator of entomology in the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History, New York City. He is author or coauthor of dozens of books, several based upon exhibitions at the AMNH, including The Brain: Big Bangs, Behaviors, and Beliefs and A Natural History of Wine, coauthored with Ian Tattersall and published by Yale University Press. He lives in New York City.
Susan L. Perkins is curator of microbial systematics and genomics at AMNH. She lives in New York City.
"DeSalle and Perkins make it easy and fun to learn about this rapidly expanding field."
– Publishers Weekly
"This is a really great read and a timely summary of a field that has just exploded. The authors do a great job of reviewing the literature in an accessible and accurate way, and the vignettes are really entertaining."
– Paul J. Planet, M.D., Ph.D., Columbia University
"'In, On, and Around You' gets it right – we are specks in the microbial world. We must deeply understand that fact, so we can make smarter decisions about our health."
– Martin Blaser, author of Missing Microbes
"Leave it to two scientists and a scientific illustrator from our unsurpassed American Museum of Natural History to deliver such a delightful addition to our growing tome of literature on the microbial communities in, on and around us. Kudos!"
– Jessica Snyder Sachs, author of Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World
"In Welcome to the Microbiome DeSalle and Perkins provide nothing short of a primer to being human, a primer from the perspective of our ancient associations with microscopic species, the species that live in your teeth, ears and colon, the species that are sometimes described as being 'on you,' but as DeSalle and Perkins make clear, really are you. If you want to understand yourself, your flesh, your existence and struggles, what it is that you see and don't see when you stand naked in the mirror, read this book."
– Rob Dunn, author of The Man Who Touched His Own Heart
"Desalle and Perkins have produced a beautifully comprehensive guide to the microbes that inhabit our body and how we know about them. This book should be of tremendous interest to anyone looking to peer behind the microbiome headlines and understand what is really going on."
– Rob Knight, author of Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes