“Like 15th century explorers describing the outline of a new continent, HMP researchers employed a new technological strategy to define, for the first time, the normal microbial makeup of the human body,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “HMP created a remarkable reference database by using genome sequencing techniques to detect microbes in healthy volunteers. In addition, metagenomic sequencing, or sequencing all of the DNA in a microbial community, allowed the researchers to study the metabolic capabilities encoded in the genes of these microbial communities. Human decomposition is a natural process involving the breakdown of tissues after death. There, they help to digest substances that the human body cannot break down, like many carbohydrates and things called short chain fatty acids. This bacterial genomic contribution is critical for human survival. The NIH Common Fund also invested in a series of studies to evaluate the ethical, legal and social implications of microbiome research. I have read there are approximately 10 times more bacteria than there are cells in your body. Microbial species live on … After NIH launched HMP in December 2007, the International Human Microbiome Consortium formed in 2008 to represent funding organizations, including NIH, and scientists from around the world interested in studying the human microbiome. Nasal samples from the feverish children contained up to five-fold more viral DNA than children without fever, and the viral DNA was from a wider range of species. Scientists have only recently begun to quantify the microbiome, and discovered it is inhabited by at least 38 trillion bacteria. HMP has received $153 million since its launch in fiscal year 2007 from the NIH Common Fund, which invests in high-impact, innovative, trans-NIH research. As a part of HMP, NIH funded a number of studies to look for associations of the microbiome with diseases and several PLoS papers include medical results. It's really scary to think about, since staph can be so harmful, but everyone has some of it on their skin. They also estimated the number of human cells in the body, about 84% of which are red blood cells, finding there to be about 30 trillion human cells in the body. In fact, there are likely more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. In fact, all the bacteria in the human body make up a microbiome that can weigh as much as 5 pounds! More information about HMP can be found at http://commonfund.nih.gov/hmp/index.aspx. In any human body there are around 30 trillion human cells, but our microbiome is an estimated 39 trillion microbial cells including bacteria, viruses and fungi that live on and in us. The human genome - the full set of genetic instructions for a human being - is made up of 20,000 instructions called genes. I've heard that probiotic yogurt helps keep your good bacteria in balance. An illustration showing the body sites that were sampled as part of the Human Microbiome Project healthy cohort study is available at: www.genome.gov/pressDisplay.cfm?photoID=20163. The sheer amount of bacteria in the human body weighs three to four pounds combined, as much as the human brain. Normal human skin is alive with bacteria -- a hundred times more kinds of bacteria, in more places, than previously known, NIH researchers find. Because of their small size, however, microorganisms make up only about 1 to 3 percent of the body's mass (in a 200-pound adult, that’s 2 to 6 pounds of bacteria), but play a vital role in human health. For example, researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston compared changes in the vaginal microbiome of 24 pregnant women with 60 women who were not pregnant and found that the vaginal microbiome undergoes a dramatic shift in bacterial species in preparation for birth, principally characterized by decreased species diversity. “The astonishing drop in the cost of sequencing DNA has made possible the kind of large survey performed by the Human Microbiome Project.”. Units: 100 trillion. Wikibuy Review: A Free Tool That Saves You Time and Money, 15 Creative Ways to Save Money That Actually Work. “Microbes in the gut break down many of the proteins, lipids and carbohydrates in our diet into nutrients that we can then absorb. The bacteria in the intestines work with the immune system to protect the body against various diseases. Changes in … The Weizmann scientists redid the estimate and found that there were about 39 trillion bacterial cells in the body. Fevers are part of the body's defense against pathogenic viruses, so rapid tests for viral load may help children avoid inappropriate treatment with antibiotics that do not kill the viruses but may harm the child's healthy microbiome. “Recently developed genome sequencing methods now provide a powerful lens for looking at the human microbiome,” said Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, which managed HMP for NIH. Genes carried by bacteria in the gastro-intestinal tract, for example, allow humans to digest foods and absorb nutrients that otherwise would be unavailable. Learn about a little known plugin that tells you if you're getting the best price on Amazon. Keeps the harmful bacteria out: Many bacteria that live inside the mouth, throat, nose and intestines do not let other harmful microorganisms live inside or on the human body. It is important that we keep this population healthy. @somerset - I read a whole article awhile ago about how common staphylococcus is on our skin. Male reproductive tract. Jennifer Yttri, PhD, National Center for Health Research. In the healthy gut, for example, there will always be a population of bacteria needed to help digest fats, but it may not always be the same bacterial species carrying out this job. And that's a bad idea for a number of reasons, namely that it would get rid of the good bacteria also! The Human Microbiome Project is managed by National Human Genome Research Institute, in partnership with the NIH Office of the Director, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, all part of NIH. 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