It’s been a big week for our microbiomes.
The first phase of an ambitious study to characterise all the bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that reside in our bodies has been completed, with the results published this week in a series of articles in Nature, PLoS One and Genome Biology.
It’s a significant undertaking as the majority of previous research has focused on only those bugs that can potentially cause disease. The current study hints at the enormous scope of a person’s microbial rainforest, while highlighting the emerging view that these bugs, both pathogenic and non-pathogenic, actively participate and contribute to our metabolism and are critical for our ongoing health and survival.
To give you a taste of the “complex combinations” of these microbial partners of ours, The New York Times has published this impressive ‘family tree’ illustrating their prevalence and abundance.