You have cooties!
In fact, the 100 trillion+ bugs on your body collectively weigh in between 2 – 6 pounds.
But… there’s a catch.
You need them!
Read on to learn why.
Microbe census maps out human body’s bacteria, viruses, other bugs
It gives scientists a reference point of what the microbial community looks like in healthy people, and they plan to use it to study how changes in a person’s microbiome can lead to illness.
Described in two papers in Nature and a raft of reports in other journals, the data released Wednesday describe microbes of the skin, saliva, nostrils, guts and other areas of 242 adults in tiptop health.
The $170-million, federally funded Human Microbiome Project also cataloged the genes contained within this zoo of life. The results shed light on the hum of microbial activity inside us as nutrients are chopped and guzzled, gas and other wastes are expelled, and bugs send chemical messages to one another, jostling for supremacy or attracting new neighbors to help keep their community going.
The research is important because it gives scientists a reference point of what the microbial community looks like in healthy people, and they plan to use it to study how changes in a person’s microbiome can lead to illness. A spate of studies in the last few years has documented potential links to conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and obesity.
Each of us is home to about 100 trillion microscopic life forms — a figure that’s about 10 times higher than the number of cells in the human body. In a 200-pound adult, these organisms can weigh a combined 2 to 6 pounds.
The vast majority of our microscopic denizens appear to be bacteria; 10,000 types may choose to make Homo sapiens home, the scientists found.
Some spots on the body, such as the mouth, are rain-forest-like in their diversity, inhabited by a rich community of bacteria that is fairly similar from one person to the next.
Other locations, such as the vagina, are more like Read the rest of this entry »