Heidi H Kong1 and Julia A Segre2
1. 1Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
2. 2National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Received 31 August 2011; Revised 31 October 2011; Accepted 1 November 2011; Published online 22 December 2011.
Trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, and small arthropods colonize the skin surface, collectively comprising the skin microbiome. Generations of researchers have classified these microbes as transient versus resident, beneficial versus pathogenic, and collaborators versus adversaries. Culturing and direct sequencing of microbial inhabitants identified distinct populations present at skin surface sites. Herein, we explore the history of this field, describe findings from the current molecular sequencing era, and consider the future of investigating how microbes and antimicrobial therapy contribute to human health