The importance of gut microbes to well-being is one of the hottest topics in health. Another is the benefits of breastfeeding. It’s popularly assumed that breastmilk supports a healthy microbiome in infants, but what does the research show? A new review article in Science outlines what we know and don’t know about how this support may work.
As we seek out organic compounds and water on the surface of Mars, ponder the potential for hidden oceans on Europa, and discover new Earth-like exoplanets, the promise of astrobiology — namely, alien life in some form — seems closer than ever to reality. Yet what if aliens are already here on Earth, not as otherworldly visitors but alternative organisms, separately evolved and existing in a shadow biosphere?
The ground beneath our feet is teeming with microbial life—approximately 10 billion organisms in an average handful of soil. Now, thanks to modern genetic sequencing methods, researchers are getting surprising insights into the vibrant world of dirt.
In all but the best-preserved fossils, researchers have assumed that intact soft tissues did not survive longer than about 4 million years. A few protein fragments might persist; however, full proteinaceous structures that could tell us about soft tissues and animal physiology would not.