You may be sharing more than just a house with your partner…

When we spend a lot of time with people, we often start to pick up their sayings and mannerisms. Well, recent studies suggest that we may be picking up more than just that. Researchers from the University of Waterloo, Canada, show that cohabitating couples come to share a similar microbiome. So similar, in fact, that computer algorithms can identify couples that live together, with 86% accuracy, based on skin microbiomes alone. 

The study, which analysed 17 regions of the skin in 10 cohabitating couples, found the strongest similarities in bacterial species on their feet. This is not surprising and probably due to couples walking barefoot on the same floor, facilitating microbial exchange. 

This study is part of a larger effort to determine the many factors that influence the composition of the skin microbiome. Whilst your partner’s microbiome will undoubtedly affect your microbiome[1], many other things such as gender, environment and lifestyle also play roles. 

References:

[1] https://msystems.asm.org/content/2/4/e00043-17

Keep exploring