Meet Barry, The Gut Bacterium

on Friday, May. 6th

In this whirlwind of a news cycle, you may have missed a couple of important headlines that had nothing to do with the President’s birth certificate, bin Laden’s death announcement, or Alabama’s life-and-death encounter with, well, whirlwinds. Instead these under-reported stories have to do with new findings about how trillions of symbiotic bacteria live in your body. A Caltech study revealed that one of the most common of these bacteria hijacks your immune system to keep it from attacking them like it does when harmful bacteria invade. Meanwhile, researchers in Germany announced the surprising finding that they could categorize human beings into three distinct groups based on our gut bacteria — kind of like how people have different blood types, these scientists say we have different bug types.

To explain all this, Turnstyle called on our bacterial correspondent Barry Fragilis. He filed this video report.

Thanks to AJ Cann, whose awesome photo of Bacteroides (the genus Barry belongs to) provided the backdrop for our video.

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