The “forgotten Organ”, a “new scientific frontier” and of course the “second brain, yet until recently the relationship between humanity and bacteria was often fraught, disease was an almost perfunctory connotation of bacteria, with very little understanding, from the Bubonic plague to Anthrax societies were wiped out by bacterial infections and even today MRSA and rCDI have frightening public health implications.
That the Human body is more than just ourselves is a concept that some might find rather complex even unpleasant , that we host, by some estimates around 100 trillion microbes and they outnumber our own human cells by 10 to 1 will be for many unfathomable. This complex ecological system in place in our bodies and the various species that exist within it is known as our Microbiota the genomic presence that they all represent is our Microbiome.
The Human Microbiome – Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg described in 2001, when the study of the microbiome was in its infancy, as “the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space and have been all but ignored as determinants of health and disease.”
So, The Human Microbiota is the combination of all the Microorganisms that inhabit our body, namely bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists and viruses (phages). They have an important role in how we function and there are many fascinating studies both past and ongoing with remarkable results both to improve our health and to prevent and cure illness.
The Human Microbiome is the genomes of all these resident microorganisms. Recent advances in DNA-based analysis through RNA, Protein and metagenomic studies have enabled us to isolate and understand these species and their numerous strains better and hence how they influence and affect our bodies. Although there are 1000s of different species of bacteria in or on our body generally each strain is unique to a specific human.