A new survey of DNA fragments circulating in human blood suggests our bodies contain vastly more diverse microbes than anyone previously understood. What’s more, the overwhelming majority of those microbes have never been seen before, let alone classified and named, Stanford researchers report August 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We found the gamut,” said Stephen Quake, a professor of bioengineering and applied physics, a member of Stanford Bio-X and the paper’s senior author. “We found things that are related to things people have seen before, we found things that are divergent, and we found things that are completely novel.”

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