Tuesday, June 3, 2008

We are 90% bacteria, actually

Humans Are Dependent On Microbe For Their Well-Being

We may not be entirely human, gene experts said after studying the DNA of hundreds of different kinds of bacteria in the human gut. Bacteria are so important to key functions such as digestion and the immune system that we may be truly symbiotic organisms – relying on one another for life itself, says Scientists. Their findings suggest that studying bacteria native to our bodies may provide important clues to disease, nutrition, obesity and how well drugs will work in individuals, said the team at The Institute for Genomic Research, commonly known as TIGR, in Maryland.

“We are somehow like an amalgam, a mix of bacteria and human cells. There are some estimates that say 90% of the cells in our body are actually bacteria,” Steven Gill, a molecular biologist formerly at TIGR and now at the State University of New York in Buffalo, said in a telephone interview. “We’re entirely dependent on this microbial population for our well-being. A shift within this population, often leading to the absence or presence of beneficial microbes, can trigger defects in metabolism and development of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease.”

90% bacteria - Copy

Scientists have long known that at least 50% of human feces, and often more, is made up of bacteria from the gut. Bacteria start to colonise the intestines and colon shortly after birth, and adults carry up to 100 trillion microbesclip_image001[1], representing more than 1,000 different species.They are not just freeloading. They help humans to digest much of what we eat, including some vitamins, sugars, and fiber. They also synthesize vitamins that people cannot.

“Humans have evolved for million of years with these bacteria. And they provide essential functions,” Gill said. Gill and his team sequenced the DNA in feces donated by three adults. They found a surprising amount of it came from bacteria. They compared the gene sequences to those from known bacteria and to the human genome and found this socalled colon microbiome—the entire sum of genetic material from microbes in the lower gut—includes more than 60,000 genes. That is twice as many as found in the human genome.

  “Of all the DNA sequences in that material, only 1 to 5% of it was not bacterial,” Gill said. “We were surprised.” They also found a surprising number of Archaea, also known as archaebacteria, which are genetically distinct from bacteria but which are also one-celled organisms often found in extreme environments such as hot springs.   The donors were healthy adults. None had taken antibiotics for a year, as these drugs are known to disturb the bacteria in the body.

   Gill said his team hopes now to make a comparison of the gut bacteria from different people.

   “The ideal study would be to compare 20 people, 30 people from different ethnic backgrounds, different diets, drinkers, smokers, and so on, because I think there are going to be distinct differences,” Gill said.

   These bacteria almost certainly help break down drugs that people take and studying the effects of different populations of the microbes might provide clues to treating different people with various medications.

Source: TOI

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Neerali,
Nice to see a very regular post with updated info.Visuals and illustrations are very appropriate.

Keep it Up!

/

Neerali Desai said...

Hi
Thanks for those encouraging words...

Anonymous said...

Nice Article.

Rami said...

Hi Niru,

I liked the article, must say that it is awesome. Keep posting.. At least i will not lose the touch of MB>

Neerali Desai said...

Hi Rami
thanks a ton...i m happy my blog helping people to be n touch with subject....this appreciation matters a lot...

Manju said...

Hey Nirali,
I must admit that I am a bit naive about this topic, but it is so fascinating to understand the dynamics of bacteria. Microbiology is one of my favourite subjects, and I would be happy to read more about bacteria and the change they bring in ones' body.

You are doing a fantastic job. This is an eye opener for everyone to know how bacteria is related to human beings.

ren said...

hi ..nice n good effort...keep updating as muh as can..u r articles r very informative...let the whole world know more abt it...

Anonymous said...

hi neerali,
i find this a facinating and jaw dropping article,
surprisin to know that im made of 90% bacteria!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
do keep posting more of such interesting articles.

Tarak said...

Hei,
Veldig.. Flott!! I liker det!
I skall hverdags bes√łke 'Blog' deg.

Med Vennlig Hilsen
/tarak

Neerali Desai said...

Hi manju
thanks a ton for appreciating my work...will try and do it even more better...

Neerali Desai said...

Hi Renny
thnak you for liking articles....everyone reads news paper and throw it and later everything is forgotten so i decided to archies these articles and make them available..moreever i wanted to share my industrial experience which will coming up in later blogs

Neerali Desai said...

Hei Tarak
Tusen Takk....jeg blir gald...

Veda Murthy said...

Hi Neeru...

Awesome article.....wow...90% bacteria

Neerali Desai said...

Hi veda
thank you for those precious words.

Anonymous said...

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Sorry for offtopic

Neerali T Desai said...

Hi
Thank you for passing by visiting my blog.your comments are appreciated