If we think of our bodies as walking, talking ecosystems, it stands to reason that microbial collections may change in response to the foods we eat and places we live. Similarly, disease-related shifts in the human environment are expected to influence our resident microbes, even if those microbes themselves don’t cause the changes.

Investigators and investors are increasingly banking on the possibility that microbes finding safe harbor in human habitats may be useful for detecting disease—from acute infections to chronic inflammatory conditions.

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