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Our bodies are full of bugs. They’re everywhere, hanging out on our skin, reproducing in our gut, growing on the glistening surface of our eyes. These bacteria, it turns out, don’t just beget other bacteria. They also beget scientific paper after scientific paper, which, in turn, beget headline after headline.

But for all our talk of microbiomes, we aren’t all that great at shaping them, says Dr. Timothy Lu, an associate professor of biological engineering and electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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