A very exciting Human Microbiome Project is underway in the US involving around 200 scientists from 80 research institutions who are working together for 5 years trying to map all the different microbes who live on and around us, and what their purpose are.
So far they have calculated more than 10,000 species of microbes in healthy people, and apparently there are different organisms on different parts of the body. We all share our bodies with both harmful and beneficial bacteria, and now scientists are trying to figure out why some bacteria cause infections in some people and not others.
The findings are reshaping scientists’ views of how people stay healthy, or not.
"These bacteria are not passengers. 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." - Dr. Phillip Tarr, Washington University, St. Louis
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