Popular Science

This new device could teach us how the crud in our air affects our health

A person’s ‘exposome’ is just as important, if not more so, as their genetic predisposition to disease.
a woman breathing in fresh air

Every person seems to have a distinct exposome, which is what researchers are calling the combination of bacteria and other microparticles we inhale daily as we breathe. They think that this might be a missing puzzle piece to understanding disease.

Diseases can arise from a multitude of different factors, including both the genes we inherit and the environments in which we live. Sometimes it’s a single genetic mutation that causes the condition, as is the case with sickle cell disease or cystic fibrosis. Other times, environmental factors play the largest role; smoking cigarettes greatly increases your risk of lung cancer, for example. And while we have been studying the genetic roots

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