A new study from the Forsyth Institute and the Marine Biological Laboratory provides a detailed look at how the microbes in the mouth coexist. Using a novel fluorescence imaging technique and DNA sequencing, the scientists have created a high-resolution map of the bacteria in dental plaque. For the first time, scientists can see where the bacteria are in relation to each other. This research is critical for gaining new understanding of how the bacteria interact and will ultimately clarify their role in health and disease.
This new imaging technique can be used to map and study other human microbiomes — such as the gut and the skin. In this study, the research team found that bacteria in the mouth form structures (that they termed “hedgehogs”), in which the organization of the bacteria suggest functional roles within the community.
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