The human microbiome

New research shows that humans share more bacteria with their pets that with their children.

An excerpt from the Science Daily report:

The number of microbes living on and inside a typical human is about 100 trillion, outnumbering human cells by about 10 to one. And the microorganisms humans carry around — or don’t — have been linked to a broad spectrum of diseases ranging from malnutrition and obesity to diabetes, asthma and depression, he said.

“There is mounting evidence that exposure to a variety of environmental sources of microbes can affect long-term health, findings known as the ‘hygiene hypothesis,’ ” said Song, a graduate student in CU-Boulder’s ecology and evolutionary biology department and first author on the paper. Proposed by British epidemiologist Richard Strachen in 1989, the hypothesis is that children who have had a lack of exposure to bacteria and microorganisms might be more prone to getting sick because many microbes have co-evolved with people to be beneficial.

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