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Posts Tagged ‘ecosystems’

The Human Microbiome

How Microbes Defend and Define Us

This article from the New York Times, by Carl Zimmer, should be obligatory reading for anybody who wants to characterize bacteriae as either good or bad.

Some quotes:

“Dr. Khoruts mixed a small sample of her husband’s stool with saline solution and delivered it into her colon. Writing in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology last month, Dr. Khoruts and his colleagues reported that her diarrhea vanished in a day. Her Clostridium difficile infection disappeared as well and has not returned since. ”

“In the mouth alone, Dr. Relman estimates, there are between 500 and 1,000 species. “It hasn’t reached a plateau yet: the more people you look at, the more species you get,” he said. The mouth in turn is divided up into smaller ecosystems, like the tongue, the gums, the teeth. Each tooth—and even each side of each tooth—has a different combination of species. ” Read more…