Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Communities
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Fungal Findings

Published: Monday, June 10, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, June 10, 2013
Bookmark and Share
NIH team used genomic approach to gain a better understanding of the fungi in their new study.

A genomic survey of the fungi living on our skin provides a framework for understanding how these microbes contribute to skin health and disease.

Complex communities of microbes live on the surface of our bodies. These fungi, bacteria and viruses are collectively known as the skin microbiome.

A team from NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) previously used genomic techniques to study skin bacteria.

They found diverse bacterial communities that varied between people and by skin site. In their new study, the team used a similar genomic approach to gain a better understanding of the fungi that live on our skin.

Fungi include molds, mushrooms, and the yeast that are used to ferment bread and beer. These microbes have been associated with many skin diseases and conditions, including athlete’s foot, eczema, dandruff and toenail infections.

Fungal skin infections affect an estimated 29 million people nationwide. But fungi can be slow and difficult to grow in laboratories, making fungal infections hard to identify and treat.

As described online in Nature on May 22, 2013, the scientists collected samples at 14 body sites from 10 healthy adults. They focused on a fragment of DNA shared by all fungi-the intervening internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) of ribosomal RNA-that could be used to classify fungi at the genus level with greater than 97% accuracy.

By generating more than 5 million ITS1 sequences from the samples, the team was able to identify more than 80 genus-level fungal types living on human skin. In contrast, traditional culturing methods could identify only 18 types.

Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes were found at all the skin sites. Fungi of the genus Malassezia were the predominant type on 11 of the 14 sites, including behind the ears, in nostrils, on the back, and on the arms.

The team found that heels, which don’t show extensive bacterial diversity, were the most complex site for fungi, with about 80 types represented.

Toe webs, with about 60 types, and toenails, with 40, had the next highest levels of fungal diversity. Hands and arms, which harbor a great diversity of bacteria, had relatively few types of fungi.

Fungal communities on the core body were quite stable over time, with little change when tested up to 3 months apart. In contrast, fungi on the feet altered considerably over 3 months, perhaps reflecting more environmental exposure.

“The fungal communities on the human body are complex and site-specific,” says co-senior author Dr. Heidi Kong of NCI. “By gaining a more complete awareness of the fungal and bacterial ecosystems, we can better address associated skin diseases, including fungal infections, which can be related to cancer treatments.”

“The data from our study gives us a baseline about normal individuals that we never had before,” says co-senior author Dr. Julie Segre of NHGRI. “The bottom line is your feet are teeming with fungal diversity, so wear your flip flops in locker rooms if you don’t want to mix your foot fungi with someone else’s fungi.”

Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Structure of Primary Cannabinoid Receptor is Revealed
The findings provide key insights into how natural and synthetic cannabinoids including tetrahydrocannabinol —a primary chemical in marijuana—bind at the CB1 receptor to produce their effects.
Friday, October 21, 2016
NIH Study Determines Key Differences between Allergic and Non-Allergic Dust Mite Proteins
Researchers at NIH have uncovered factors that lead to the development of dust mite allergy and assist in the design of better allergy therapies.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
NIH Contributes to Global Effort to Prevent and Manage Lung Diseases
The large scale trial will measure health benefits of clean cookstoves.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Untangling Cause Of Memory Loss In Neurodegenerative Diseases
NIH-funded mouse study identifies a possible therapeutic target for a family of disorders.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
NIH Scientists Uncover Genetic Explanation for Frustrating Syndrome
Researchers at NIH have suggested that the multiple alpha tryptase gene copies might underlie health issues that affect a substantial number of people.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Scientists at NIH and Emory Achieve Sustained SIV Remission in Monkeys
The finding suggest that the immune systems of these animals are controlling SIV replication in the absence of antiretroviral therapy.
Friday, October 14, 2016
Untangling a Cause of Memory Loss in Neurodegenerative Diseases
The mouse study identifies a possible therapeutic target for a family of disorders.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Visual Cortex Plays Role in Plasticity of Eye Movement Reflex
Researchers at NIH have found that the visual cortex region of the brain known to process sensory information plays a vital role in promoting the plasticity of innate, spontaneous eye movements.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
NIH Commits $6.7 M to Advance DNA, RNA Sequencing Technology
"Can you believe they make DNA sequencers the size of staplers?" asked Meni Wanunu, Ph.D. "Ideas that were crazy twenty years ago are now happening!"
Friday, October 07, 2016
Cone Snail Venom Reveals Insulin Insights
Researchers found that a fast-acting insulin from the cone snail can bind and activate the human insulin receptor.
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
DNA Vaccines Protect Monkeys Against Zika Virus
Two experimental Zika virus DNA vaccines developed by NIH scientists protected monkeys against Zika infection.
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
Targeting Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors May be Important Across a Lifetime
The study suggests efforts to prevent risk factors should extend to those older than 65.
Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Researchers Find a Gap in the Brain’s Firewall Against Parkinson’s Disease
Researchers at NIH have found mouse study that identified a key player in the progression of the disorder.
Saturday, October 01, 2016
Drug to Treat Alcohol Use Disorder Shows Promise Among Drinkers With High Stress
The findings suggest that potential future studies with drugs targeting vasopressin blockade should focus on populations of people with AUD who also report high levels of stress.
Friday, September 30, 2016
Monkeys Protected by Zika DNA Vaccine
Experimental Zika virus DNA vaccines successfully protected monkeys against Zika infection.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Scientific News
Integrated Omics Analysis
Studying multi-omics promises to give a more holistic picture of the organism and its place in its ecosystem, however despite the complexities involved those within the field are optimistic.
Unravelling the Role of Key Genes and DNA Methylation in Blood Cell Malignancies
Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center have demonstrated the role of Dnmt3a in safeguarding normal haematopoiesis.
Salford Lung Study - The First Real World Clinical Trial
In this podcast, we learn about the Salford Lung Study and its potential to revolutionize the way we assess new drugs and treatments around the world.
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Preventing "Friendly Fire" in the Pancreas
Researchers inhibit process that leads to the body attacking its own insulin-producing cells.
Fighting Cancer with Immune Response
New treatment elicits two-pronged immune response that destroys tumors in mice.
Nanomedicine for Breast Cancer Treatment
Using nanoparticles measuring only billionths of a meter in size, doctors are able to deliver drug molecules directly to the affected tissue.
MRSA Uses Decoys to Evade a Last-Resort Antibiotic
Researchers at Imperial College London have discovered that MRSA releases decoy molecules that allow them to escape being killed by the antibiotic.
MRIs for Fetal Health
Algorithm could help analyze fetal scans to determine whether interventions are warranted.
RNA-Binding Proteins Role in ALS Revealed
Researchers describe how damage to RNA-binding protein contributes to ALS, isolating a possible therapeutic target.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,200+ scientific videos