Human Microbiome

The human microbiome (or human microbiota) is the aggregate of microorganisms that reside on the surface and in deep layers of skin, in the saliva and oral mucosa, in the conjunctiva, and in the gastrointestinal tracts. They include bacteria, fungi, and archaea. Some of these organisms perform tasks that are useful for the human host. However, the majority have been too poorly researched to understand the role they play. Those that are expected to be present, and that under normal circumstances do not cause disease, but instead participate in maintaining health, are deemed members of the normal flora. Though widely known as "microflora", this is, in technical terms, a misnomer, since the word root "flora" pertains to plants, and biota refers to the total collection of organisms in a particular ecosystem. Recently, the more appropriate term "microbiota" is applied, though its use has not eclipsed the entrenched use and recognition of "flora" with regard to bacteria and other microorganisms. Both terms are being used in different literature. Studies in 2009 questioned whether the decline in biota (including microfauna) as a result of human intervention might impede human health. Most of the microbes associated with humans appear to be not harmful at all, but rather assist in maintaining processes necessary for a healthy body. A surprising finding was that at specific sites on the body, a different set of microbes may perform the same function for different people. For example, on the tongues of two people two entirely different sets of organisms will break down sugars in the same way. This suggests that medical science may be forced to abandon the one-microbe model of disease, and rather pay attention to the function of a group of microbes that has somehow gone awry.

Read more about Human Microbiome:  Bacteria, Archaea, Fungal Flora

Other articles related to "human microbiome, humans, human":

Human Microbiome Project - Milestones - Reference Database Established
... On 13 June 2012, a major milestone of the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) was announced by the NIH director Francis Collins ... By mapping the normal microbial make-up of healthy humans using genome sequencing techniques, the researchers of the HMP have created a reference database and the boundaries of ... All the DNA, human and microbial, were analyzed with DNA sequencing machines ...
Human Microbiome Project - Goals
... and to perform preliminary characterization of the human microbiome To explore the relationship between disease and changes in the human microbiome To develop new technologies and tools for ...
Human Microbiome - Presence of A Core Microbiome
... Aside from simply elucidating the composition of the human microbiome, one of the major questions involving the human microbiome is whether there is a "core", that is, whether there is a subset of the ... with disease states, which is one of the goals of the Human Microbiome Project ... It is known that the human microbiome is highly variable both within a single subject and between different individuals ...
Human Microbiome - Anatomical Areas - Gut Flora
... The gut flora is the human flora of microorganisms that normally live in the digestive tract and can perform a number of useful functions for their ... The average human body, consisting of about 1013 (10,000,000,000,000 or about ten trillion) cells, has about ten times that number of microorganisms in the gut ... Research suggests that the relationship between gut flora and humans is not merely commensal (a non-harmful coexistence), but rather is a mutualistic, symbiotic relationship ...

Famous quotes containing the word human:

    The human consciousness is really homogeneous. There is no complete forgetting, even in death.
    —D.H. (David Herbert)