MAR 21, 2017 4:16 PM PDT

Introducing: the Human Microbiome

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

While microbes reside virtually everywhere, there has been intense research interest in microbes residing in one place in particular - the human gut. As genetic technologies advanced, it gave investigators an unprecedented window into the myriad microorganisms that live within us, usually referred to as the human microbiome (bacterial species can be identified by sequencing the 16S rRNA-encoding genes in fecal samples). The microbes themselves are often harmless and in fact play very important roles in the maintenance of our health; for example, in some cases metabolic byproducts made by the micro biome are crucial to health and not made by our own cells.

But when imbalances and disorder impacts the microbial community, it can wreak havoc, as scientists are learning. There is a growing body of evidence that links dysfunction in the microbiome to health problems, which leo means it can be a target for therapeutics.

It was once thought and is often repeated that there are ten times as many bacterial cels in our body as cells of our own, but other research has indicated that ratio is more likely to be one-to-one. There are typical species found in the human gut, but the composition from one person to another can vary widely. You can learn more about it in the video.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
MAY 12, 2020
Plants & Animals
It's Not a Choice - Cats Need Meat
MAY 12, 2020
It's Not a Choice - Cats Need Meat
While you or I might have the freedom of deciding between a carnivorous diet or going all out vegetarian, not all a ...
MAY 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Here's What Would Happen if You Fired a Gun in Outer Space
MAY 12, 2020
Here's What Would Happen if You Fired a Gun in Outer Space
Many of the world’s greatest science fiction films depict massive battles in outer space between starships and eve ...
MAY 17, 2020
Plants & Animals
Male Garter Snakes Trick Others to Improve Own Mating Success
MAY 17, 2020
Male Garter Snakes Trick Others to Improve Own Mating Success
After spending several months in hibernation during the winter, male garter snakes emerge from the underground where the ...
MAY 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Another SpaceX Starship Prototype Explodes During Testing
MAY 31, 2020
Another SpaceX Starship Prototype Explodes During Testing
Incomplete Starship prototypes are a common sight if you follow SpaceX’s plethora of rocket-centric projects, but ...
MAY 31, 2020
Plants & Animals
These Penguin Chicks Now Face the Trials of Adulthood
MAY 31, 2020
These Penguin Chicks Now Face the Trials of Adulthood
Like any other bird species, adult penguins follow the tried and true tradition of raising their young close to the nest ...
JUL 08, 2020
Neuroscience
Maternal Instinct Overrides Brain's Decision Making
JUL 08, 2020
Maternal Instinct Overrides Brain's Decision Making
Researchers have found that the maternal instinct can override the brain's decision-making regions to prioritize car ...
Loading Comments...