Microbiomes raise privacy concerns

DNA from microbes living on the human body can be used to identify individuals. Ewen Callaway


The odds of identifying someone on the basis of their microbiome is low…

My comment: The microbiome links top-down causation from nutrient-dependent RNA-directed DNA methylation to RNA-mediated amino acid substitutions that differentiate all cell types in all individuals of all genera via the biophysically constrained chemistry of protein folding during life history transitions. The link to biodiversity is included via fixation of the amino acid substitutions in the context of the physiology of reproduction.

The odds of a trained animal identifying someone on the basis of their microbiome is high. For example, dogs can identify differences in identical twins with different diets because the metabolism of nutrients to species-specific pheromones links differences in morphological and behavioral phenotypes in species from microbes to man. Dogs can also be used to sniff out cancers from different tissues due to the roles that nutrient uptake and metabolism play when metabolic networks are perturbed by mutations.

Eric A. Franzosa is the first author of Relating the metatranscriptome and metagenome of the human gut and co-author of A Proteome-Scale Map of the Human Interactome Network, which links the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptation of species from microbes to man via epigenetically-effected metabolic networks and genetic networks.

I think he would agree that microbiomes raise no more privacy concerns than the links from nutritional epigenetics to pharmacogenomics in the context of “precision medicine.” Pharmacogenomics links nutrient-dependent metabolic networks to genetic networks via the same molecular mechanisms that link the microbiome to self vs other immune system identification in the context of thermodynamic cycles of protein biosynthesis and degradation.

See for review: Nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations: from atoms to ecosystems


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