BetaThis search tool is in development. Find out more.
Digital Images

Bacterial microbiome mapping, bioartistic experiment

François-Joseph Lapointe, Université de Montréal


Free to use with attribution CC BYCredit: François-Joseph Lapointe, Université de Montréal
Can I use this?

About this digital image


"1000 Handshakes" is a performance piece during which the artist shakes hands with as many people as possible, gradually changing the invisible microbial community in the palm of his hand. Periodically, assistants take a swab from the skin, and the samples are analyzed in the lab to reveal how our contact with others shapes the microbes between us. This ongoing project has been performed in different cities around the world (including Copenhagen, Montreal, San Francisco, Perth, Berlin and Baltimore) as a way to map our collective microbiome using scientific data. Production of the 'microbiome selfies' involved many different steps. Following the collection of the microbiome samples, bacterial DNA was extracted, amplified and sequenced to create the bioinformatic data shown in this series. The nodes of the networks represent bacterial DNA sequences, and two nodes are connected by an edge (line) when the bacterial DNA sequences have more than 95% similarity. The different colours correspond to distinct samples collected at every 50th handshake, from 0 to 1001. This image corresponds to the final image in this 21-part series, showing the extensive microbiome resulting from 1001 handshakes.


License information

License information

You can use this work for any purpose, including commercial uses, without restriction under copyright law. You should also provide attribution to the original work, source and licence.

Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) terms and conditions


Bacterial microbiome mapping, bioartistic experiment. Credit: François-Joseph Lapointe, Université de Montréal. CC BY

We’re improving the information on this page. Find out more.