It may be shocking, but over 90 percent of the cells in your body are not yours. They are various kinds of bacteria that live in symbiosis with your body.
Only a small number of bacteria in our bodies are harmful; most of them get something from our bodies and deliver useful tricks in return – such as enzymes needed for digesting the food and which cannot be synthesized by our own bodies. Now, for the first time, scientists have studied the genetics of the world inside our gut, or colon.
They have found up to 100 trillion microbes,
representing more than 1,000 species.
They help us digest much of what we eat, including some vitamins, sugars, and fiber. This colon “microbiome”, to sum of all these microbes, includes more than 60,000 genes – twice as many as found in the human genome. Because some of these microbial genes code for enzymes that humans need to digest food, scientists think they co-evolved with their human host, to mutual benefit.
“We’re entirely dependent on this microbial population for our well-being…”