Show Details

Phone Microbiome

July 1, 2014

Your cell phone has its own microbiome.



Our phones, our selves. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Our cell phones are so intimately connected with our lives that the microbes living on our phone surfaces mirror the microbes living on us. This according to research published in the journal PeerJ by James Meadows at the University of Oregon. As DNA sequencing technology improves, he says mobile phones could become health and safety monitors.

JAMES MEADOW (University of Oregon):

We’re picking things up that we don’t even know about. Some of these things are good, some don’t matter at all, some may even be harmful, but it’s really good to have reliable ways to sample that easily and quickly as we move into better sequencing technology.


The research could help us understand how microbes move from our bodies into the environment, and vice versa, and lead to applications including non-invasive ways to monitor health care workers for pathogens. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.