Humans And Humans

895 WordsApr 14, 20164 Pages
We, as humans, are essentially walking ecosystems, inhabited by a wide array of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. These indigenous microbial communities, along with their genes, form the microbiome and directly influence critical features of human biology, while also playing a significant role in our health and disease. With the advent of the Human Microbiome Project, many of our diverse microbes are now being profiled, providing an insight into what brought about this close association. Microbes and humans have long been co-operating with one another, but why? The fastidious environment of the human gut provides microbes with a nutrient rich habitat and constant temperature that allows for a continuously active bacterial metabolism (Stecher, et. al., 2013). In return, they have essentially allowed humans to utilize a wide array of enzymes, nutrients, and compounds that are coded for by their genes. Collectively, humans and microbes function as a “superorganism” or holobiont. The establishment of the human microbiota and the microbiome begins immediately at birth. A fetus is considered to be sterile until the amniotic sac ruptures. After passage through the birth canal, it gathers microbial populations that closely resemble that of the mother’s vagina; this continues as the child receives its mother’s breast milk. Within the first year, the infant begins to have repeated exposures to various environmental factors (family size, diet, living arrangements, geographic

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