May 20, 2013

We are only 10 percent human

Over the past year, I've been doing a lot of reading to learn about the role of bacteria and microbes in our body. The more I read about them, more intrigued I become.  The recent article in The New York Times by Michael Pollan, America's "liberal foodie intellectual," literally blew my mind away.

Here is a para from the article titled "Some of My Best Friends are Germs:"
"It turns out that we are only 10 percent human: for every human cell that is intrinsic to our body, there are about 10 resident microbes — including commensals (generally harmless freeloaders) and mutualists (favor traders) and, in only a tiny number of cases, pathogens. To the extent that we are bearers of genetic information, more than 99 percent of it is microbial. And it appears increasingly likely that this “second genome,” as it is sometimes called, exerts an influence on our health as great and possibly even greater than the genes we inherit from our parents. But while your inherited genes are more or less fixed, it may be possible to reshape, even cultivate, your second genome."
I encourage you to read the full article. It is a bit long, but extremely informative.

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