Friday, November 6, 2009

Mapping the bacteria in and on our bodies

New research reveals more than you ever wanted to know about the bacteria inhabiting your body.

By Emily Singer
The back of your knee probably has more microbes than your mouth or your gut--that's just one of the somewhat disturbing revelations from a study published today online in Science. Researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder have developed the most complete map yet of the microbes that dwell on and in us. "The highest diversity skin sites were the forearms, palm, index finger, back of the knee and sole of the foot. The armpits and soles of the feet showed some similarities, perhaps because they are from dark and moist environments," said Noah Fierer, one of the study's authors, in a statement.

Scientists are mapping our microbial inhabitants in order to better understand their role in human health and disease. As I noted in a previous feature:
Each of us contains roughly 10 times as many microbial cells as human ones. And while some microbes make us sick, many play vital roles in our physiology. They give us the ability to digest foods whose nutrients would otherwise be lost to us, and they make essential vitamins and amino acids our bodies can't.

Full post here

Via the Instapundit

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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