Skin microbiome: genomics-based insights into the diversity and role of skin microbes

Trends Mol Med. 2011 Jun;17(6):320-8. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2011.01.013. Epub 2011 Mar 4.


Recent advances in DNA sequencing methodology have facilitated studies of human skin microbes that circumvent difficulties in isolating and characterizing fastidious microbes. Sequence-based approaches have identified a greater diversity of cutaneous bacteria than studies using traditional cultivation techniques. However, improved sequencing technologies and analytical methods are needed to study all skin microbes, including bacteria, archaea, fungi, viruses and mites, and how they interact with each other and their human hosts. This review discusses current skin microbiome research, with a primary focus on bacteria, and the challenges facing investigators striving to understand how skin microorganisms contribute to health and disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Archaea / genetics
  • Bacteria* / genetics
  • Bacteria* / isolation & purification
  • Biodiversity
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification*
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Genomics / methods
  • Humans
  • Metagenome / genetics*
  • Mites / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / analysis*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Skin / microbiology*
  • Viruses / genetics


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S