10 000 germ species living on you

2012-06-13 22:17
Staphylococcus-epidermidis

Staphylococcus-epidermidis

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Washington - They live on your skin, up your nose, in your gut - enough bacteria, fungi and other microbes that, together, could weigh a few kilograms.

Now scientists have mapped just which critters normally live in or on us and where, calculating that healthy people can share their bodies with more than 10 000 species of microbes.

Don't say "eeew" just yet. Many of these organisms work to keep humans healthy, and results reported on Wednesday from the US government's Human Microbiome Project define what's normal in this mysterious netherworld. The results have been published in a series of reports in the journals Nature and the Public Library of Science.

One surprise: It turns out that nearly everybody harbours low levels of some harmful types of bacteria, pathogens that are known for causing specific infections. But when a person is healthy - like the 242 US adults who volunteered to be tested for the project - those bugs quietly coexist with benign or helpful microbes, perhaps kept in check by them.

The next step is to explore what doctors really want to know: Why do the bad bugs harm some people and not others? What changes a person's microbial zoo that puts them at risk for diseases ranging from infections to irritable bowel syndrome to psoriasis?

Already the findings are reshaping scientists' views of how people stay healthy, or not.

"This is a whole new way of looking at human biology and human disease, and it's awe-inspiring," said Dr Phillip Tarr of Washington University at St Louis, one of the lead researchers in the $173m project, funded by the National Institutes of Health.

"These bacteria are not passengers," Tarr stressed. "They are metabolically active. As a community, we now have to reckon with them like we have to reckon with the ecosystem in a forest or a body of water."

And like environmental ecosystems, your microbial make-up varies by body part.

Scientists have long known that the human body coexists with trillions of germs, what they call the microbiome. But they didn't know which microbes lived where in healthy people, and what they actually do.

Some 200 scientists from 80 research institutions worked together for five years on this first-ever census to begin answering those questions.

- AP

Read more on:    us  |  health  |  research
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Langa - 07:46 AM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive Northbound
    DELAYS between Klipfontein Road and Jakkalsvlei Avenue
  • Wednesday Athlone - 07:45 AM
    Road name: Klipfontein Road Westbound
    HEAVY DELAYS between Belgravia Road and Milner Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nintendo Wii Console

Featuring a remarkable wireless controller experience, the Nintendo Wii console...

From R2999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is always easier to look out and see what needs changing. Looking in is a lot harder... Today you may need to look at what...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.