Thread: the “human microbiome”
June 14th, 2012, 11:24 AM #1
the “human microbiome”
Rhymes with "Bio Home!"The average person plays host to some 100 trillion microbes, with the densest populations being in the gut. BUT, surprisingly, sometimes there is greater difference between areas of one individuals skin or tongue than between two individuals.
By Alyssa A. Botelho, Published: June 13
The vast terrain that the human body provides the world of microbes has found its cartographer.
For the first time, a consortium of scientists organized by the National Institutes of Health has fully mapped the microbial makeup of healthy humans. The data, in 16 papers published simultaneously Wednesday, will shed light on how the flora and fauna that occupy the human landscape shape its health.
To characterize these invisible colonizers, known en masse as the “human microbiome,” scientists with the Human Microbiome Project Consortium collected tissue samples from 242 healthy American volunteers from several different locations on their bodies.
These sites, or microbial “habitats,” ranged from the nasal and oral passages to the skin, the vagina and feces.
Researchers found that the number and variety of microbes differed among an individual’s body habitats. They also observed that conditions such as temperature and acidity, as well as the work being done by the human cells in the various habitats, appear to influence which microbes live there.
For example, there are roughly 4,000 species of bacteria in the intestine, where they help digest nutrients and produce vitamins and anti-inflammatory compounds. On the other hand, the vagina has only about 300 — and the diversity decreases during pregnancy to provide a healthy passage for the infant.
One person’s skin and tongue are far more different from each other than are those of two people.
“There are more similarities between creatures that survive in two different deserts than between [those that live in] a desert or a rain forest,” said Harvard computational biologist Curtis Huttenhower, lead co-author of a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. “The different regions of your body are these bugs’ deserts and rain forests.”They say technology slows down for no one. I know it outruns my wallet. I figure its because my wallet isn't light enough yet.
TechIMO Folding@home Team #111 - Crunching for the cure!
dulce bellum inexpertis
June 14th, 2012, 01:08 PM #2
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Systems within systems. The complexity of nature is fascinating.Good job, friend-of-friends!
June 15th, 2012, 07:33 AM #3
A couple researchers were talking about this on Science Friday (NPR) several months back. Interesting stuff."Sometimes life is just what we make it."
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