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The ocean’s microbiome resembles the human gut’s microbia


From New Scientist:

The biome of the ocean resembles that of the human gut

We’re a step closer to understanding the microbial community that inhabits the ocean – and it has some striking similarities to the community that lives inside our guts. The microbiome of the world’s biggest ecosystem and one of the smallest appear to function in surprisingly similar ways.

… For example, we already knew of about 4350 species of microalgae, 1350 species of protists and 5500 species of tiny animals, based on direct studies of their appearance. But the new genetic evidence suggests that there are probably three to eight times as many distinct species in each group as currently recognised.

Shades of issues around claims about the Sixth Great Extinction. How many species ar there anyway? How do we assess numerical claims?

It is too early to say if the similarities are coincidental or are characteristics shared by all microbiomes. But the results hint that microbial systems in general may behave in a similar way regardless of exactly what environment they occupy; something that other researchers could now begin to test, Sunagawa says. More.

It could be design in nature. No, no, it just has to be a coincidence.

Note: At one time, people assumed that the microcosm would reflect the macrocosm. Or, in colloquial language: As above, so below. Shakespeare would have considered it normal, just how things are. It may not be generally true, but this sounds like a possible instance of it.

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