Friday, March 18, 2016

A new estimate revises our microbiome numbers downwards

Public Release: 28-Jan-2016
Germs, humans and numbers
A new estimate revises our microbiome numbers downwards
Weizmann Institute of Science

How many microbes inhabit our body on a regular basis? For the last few decades, the most commonly accepted estimate in the scientific world puts that number at around ten times as many bacterial as human cells. In research published today in the journal Cell, a recalculation of that number by Weizmann Institute of Science researchers reveals that the average adult has just under 40 trillion bacterial cells and about 30 trillion human ones, making the ratio much closer to 1:1.

The bacteria living in our bodies are important for our health. The makeup of each person's microbiome plays a role in both the tendency to become obese and in each individual's reaction to drugs. Some scientists have begun referring to it as the "second genome," recognizing that it needs to be taken into account when treating patients.


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