Armpit & Earwax Microbe Project
We Need You (and Your Microbes) for Science!
We are looking for participants to be sampled for an exciting project linking human genetic variation to skin microbes on various body sites: armpits, ears, noses, and ankles. Our big goal is to determine if and how variation in a gene called ABCC11 impacts skin bacteria on humans.
Do you have Wet or Dry earwax?
Many people are unaware that this a simple trait controlled by variation at a single gene, ABCC11. Thus, your earwax type is a great predictor of which ABCC11 variant you carry.
Individuals with ancestry from Africa and Europe generally have wet earwax, while those with ancestry from Asia and North America are more likely to have dry earwax. Folks with dry earwax also generally produce less sweat and have much lower levels of body odor relative to those with wet earwax. We are in particular need of participants with dry earwax (or whose parents have dry earwax), but are happy to sample all who are interested (must be at least 18 years old).
What’s it Like To Participate?
Participation will involve an approximately 30 minute session where your ears, armpits, ankles, and the outside of your nose will be swabbed, and you’ll complete a survey. In return you’ll receive (should you want it) your ABCC11 genotype, a photo of the microbes dwelling in your ears, and of course, the intense satisfaction of supporting research and education.
Sign up for our email updates to learn about the next scheduled events and other projects. Email the Genomics & Microbiology Lab at NRCgenomicsMicro@gmail.com and put “Citizen Science” in the Subject line to get email updates about our citizen science projects. (sent 1-2 times a month)