We, Homo sapiens sapiens, are the superorganisms that consist of many other organisms. We share our body and its internal environment with millions of microbial species. A vast numnber of microbes have put down their roots in our body, collectively referred to as human microbiota. As per the estimates of National Institute of Health 90% of the cells in a human body are bacterial, fungal or otherwise non-human. The microbes outnumber the human cells with a ratio of ten to one.
The microbiome, the genetic material of all the microbes that reside on or inside the human body, forms an indispensable part our genetic landscape-referred to as human metagenome. According to researchers the number of genes in microbiome is 200 times the number of genes in human genome. The microbial population mainly include species of bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa. It is estimated that atleast 205 different genera of microbes are found in human body.The population majorily inhabit on the surface and in the deeper layers of dermis, oral mucosa, saliva,conjunctiva, the gut region, forearms, nostrils, ears and inguinal parts.
An individual inherits his/her microbiome from mother; when a child makes it way from microbial free womb through microbe rich vaginal area.There is a considerable difference of microbial array in newborns depending on their type of delivery. Those delivered normally have more diverse population of bacterial species as compared to those who are delivered through C-section, the latter having picked up some Staphylococcus species from the hospital environment. The microbiome is dynamic in nature with environmental exposures and diet being the most prominent determinents in shaping the microbial ecology.
With millions and trillions of microbes populating the human body only a fraction of the community has been characterised and identified. These species have been known to have both benefecial and harmful effects on their host. The National Institute of Health’s initiative-THE HUMAN MICROBIOME project aims to generate research resources for extensive annotation of the microbial populace and analysis of their role in human health and disease.
It is hoped that the preface have given the readers an overview of the subject matter, the details of which would be covered in subsequent parts of the series.
Happy reading, Witty thinking!!