Scott Napper, a biochemistry professor at the Saskatoon school, posed the unsavory hypothesis to his students, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday.
"By consuming those pathogens caught within the mucus, could that be a way to teach your immune system about what it's surrounded with?" Napper asked.
"I've got two beautiful daughters and they spend an amazing amount of time with their fingers up their nose," he said. "And without fail, it goes right into their mouth afterwards. Could they just be fulfilling what we're truly meant to do?"
Napper said he has an experiment designed to test the hypothesis.
"All you would need is a group of volunteers. You would put some sort of molecule in all their noses, and for half of the group they would go about their normal business and for the other half of the group, they would pick their nose and eat it," he said. "Then you could look for immune responses against that molecule and if they're higher in the booger-eaters, then that would validate the idea."