Manipulation or understanding?

manipulationA mini-rant today, after I spotted the following abstract … the highlighting is mine:

“Despite the great advances in modern medicine, our understanding of the most basic function of our complete genetic makeup is extremely poor. Our complete genetic make up is complemented by 100 trillion cells living within or on our body and is called the microbiome. Manipulation of the microbiome is in the embryological stages of investigation but promises great hope in targeting both pregnancy specific and general medical / gynaecological conditions. This review presents an undertanding of the microbiome manipulation with probiotics in women’s health in 2015.” (Griffin 2015)


Couldn’t we at least wait until we have a decent basic understanding of the human microbiome and our relationship with it before we start to consider whether we could (or should) manipulate it?  I can’t help but think that a bit more patience would serve us – and the Earth, and the other organisms we share it with – rather better than our constant rush to interfere…


Griffin C (2015).  Probiotics in obstetrics and gynaecology.  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.  Online ahead of print.  DOI: 10.1111/ajo.12303


2 comments for “Manipulation or understanding?

  1. Maria
    June 22, 2015 at 7:34 am

    How utterly depressing – I’ve been enthralled by the emerging understanding of the human microbiome because it demonstrates who incredibly complex and sophisticated our ‘health’ is – the microbiome has been likened to discovering a whole new organ that we previously knew nothing about. It absolutely demands further understanding to appreciate it’s impact on whole life systems but manipulation without understanding is wholly irresponsible.

  2. nicola
    July 1, 2015 at 1:51 am

    well said Sara!!

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