Douglas Berg, a microbiologist at Washington University in St. Louis, while impressed by the new study, cautions, "Critical tests and rigorous proofs are difficult to obtain in their field of 'microbial anthropology,' and some scientists will think that the authors rather overstated their case."
Balloux says that each of the 16 authors on the current paper will likely have a different idea for the way this new model can be used. For his part, he says that studying H. pylori may allow scientists to circumvent mistrust of their research by certain ethnic groups, particularly Native Americans and Aborigines in Australia, who may be reluctant to provide blood or saliva samples. "The same people may be more willing to have their pathogens analyzed," he notes. "Future studies on H. pylori may [then] shed light on the colonization of Australia and the Americas."